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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK

UK Politics

Major damns 'intolerable' Thatcher

John Major's joy at reaching Number 10 soon ebbed

Former Prime Minister John Major has described Lady Thatcher's behaviour during his spell at 10 Downing Street as "intolerable", in interviews for a BBC series.

Former member of John Major's cabinet Stephen Dorrell: "The Conservative Party need to be looking to the future"
The Major Years, which coincides with the publication of the former prime minister's autobiography, will for the first time detail his thoughts on his predecessor.

The programme reveals Mr Major lost patience with Lady Thatcher - who had promoted him to the job of chancellor in her own government - when she claimed she to be a "very good backseat driver."

Mr Major said: "In retrospect, I think her behaviour was intolerable."

[ image: Margaret Thatcher: Claimed to be a
Margaret Thatcher: Claimed to be a "good backseat driver"
Although Lady Thatcher refused to support Mr Major in his leadership battle against John Redwood, saying both were good candidates, he was widely regarded as having her backing initially.

But his waned when he took decisions of which she appeared to disapprove. Mr Major told BBC her comments "drove a wedge between us".

The makers of The Major Years said the former prime minister spoke with "devastating frankness" when looking back at his period in the highest political office.

He gave 15 interviews of two hours each for the series, roaming over a range of subjects, including the Tories' splits on Europe, the disloyalty of some of his Cabinet and Black Wednesday when the UK left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Other interviewees for the series included Michael Portillo, Kenneth Clarke, Douglas Hurd, Chris Patten and John Redwood.

Lady Thatcher herself refused to take part.

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