Last modified on April 2, 2008, at 01:43

Little local difficulties

"little local difficulties" were the words which Harold Macmillan used in 1958 to underplay the resignation of his Treasury team: the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Peter Thorneycroft, and his two junior ministers, Nigel Birch and Enoch Powell, after the Cabinet had refused to agree to an additional £50 million reduction in public expenditure. Macmillan uttered these words in a calm way as he left for a Commonwealth tour, managing to conceal his anxiety.

Peter Thorneycroft was brought back to government two years later, first as Aviation Minister and then Minister of Defence. Enoch Powell returned as Minister of Health in 1960.