Not in Cabinet Norman Fowler, Transport Minister John Biffen, Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Howell, Energy Secretary Norman St John Stevas, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Humphrey Atkins, Northern Ireland Secretary George Younger, Scottish Secretary Michael Heseltine, Environment Secretary Nicholas Edwards, Welsh Secretary Patrick Jenkin, Social Services Secretary John Nott, Trade Secretary Mark Carlisle, Education Secretary Angus Maude, Paymaster General Sir John Hunt, Secretary to the Cabinet Sir Ian Gilmour, Lord Privy Seal Lord Soames, Lord President of the Council Sir Keith Joseph, Industry Secretary Lord Carrington, Foreign Secretary and Overseas Development William Whitelaw, Home Secretary Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister Lord Hailsham, Lord Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe, Chancellor of the Exchequer Francis Pym, Defence Minister James Prior, Employment Secretary Peter Walker, Agriculture Minister

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News

It is 25 years since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister. Click on an individual in the image or use the drop-down menu below to find out more about the members of her first cabinet, and what has happened to them since.

Willie Whitelaw

William Whitelaw's loyalty was crucial to Margaret Thatcher during her early years in power - a fact acknowledged when she famously said: "Every prime minister needs a Willie."

Whitelaw was himself well-known for his turn of phrase, once accusing Harold Wilson's Labour of going round "stirring up apathy" during the 1970 election campaign.

He was Tory chairman under Ted Heath when Mrs Thatcher launched her bid to unseat him. Although he challenged her for the leadership, his subsequent declaration of loyalty earned him the post of deputy prime minister.

He was home secretary until the 1983 election, when he was made leader of the Lords. He died, aged 81, in 1999.

William Whitelaw, Home Secretary


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific