The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I witnessed it only, of course, at a distance. If I may enter this caveat first, I think those who were inside Number 10 with Mrs Thatcher would have a better and more objective view of the relationship than I had, but I saw it from a reasonably good vantage point.

Margaret was probably the most right of centre leader the Conservative Party had had for quite a long time, and I think that appealed to the natural instincts of many proprietors and editors at the time, and I think support was accordingly offered.

There were also a number of policies that particularly appealed to them. I think there were common aims in terms of things like trade union reform, where there was a clear meeting of minds between proprietors and the then Conservative government led by Mrs Thatcher. There were common attitudes to business. I think there was a similar attitude towards the European Union -- not exactly the same, because the parody that one often gets of Mrs Thatcher's relationship with the European Union is far from the reality one actually saw at close quarters at the time -- and, of course, she became pretty iconic after the Falklands, and I think it was an amalgamation of those things that produced the very high level of admiration and support for Mrs Thatcher that came from the right of centre press.

In her turn, I think she admired buccaneering businessmen who were prepared to take risks and that certainly applied to the proprietors of newspapers. So I think it was that meshing of those particular aspects that produced the strong level of support for her, and when I say I didn't inherit it, I hadn't been Prime Minister at the time of the Falklands, I hadn't introduced the trade union legislation. Plainly, it was different.

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