Margaret Thatcher believed South Africa should become a ‘whites-only state’, and her cabinet meetings were said to be rife with xenophobia, a former top diplomat has claimed
He also claims she wanted to “push” Vietnamese boat people into the sea, “loathed” Germans and was firmly opposed to German reunification.
It comes in a controversial new account of the former Tory Prime Minister’s final years in Number 10, by former head of the Diplomatic Service, Sir Patrick Wright.
He also claims Mrs Thatcher disliked men with moustaches, because they “looked like hairdressers.”
Extracts of Sir Patrick’s diaries, published in the Mail on Sunday , reveal details of the turbulent end to her premiership.
He claims she expressed a desire for South Africa to return to a “pre-1910” position, with a white “mini-state” partitioned from neighbouring majority black states.
When Sir Patrick argued this would be seen as an extension of apartheid, she reportedly said: “Do you have no concern for our strategic interests?”
His diaries reveal a series of conversations about South Africa over several months, and claim: “All her (and Denis’) instincts are in favour of the South African Whites.”
In other entries, he claims Mrs Thatcher had bouts of “Germanophobia”, noting “she seems obsessed by a feeling that German-speakers are going to dominate the [European] Community.”
A tempestuous Cabinet meeting in February 1990 reportedly led then-Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd to exclaim: “Cabinet now consists of three items: Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs, and xenophobia.”
And he says Thatcher was at “her worst” during the 1989 Vietnamese boat people crisis, reporting Mr Hurd having told him she preferred a policy of “pushing off” Vietnamese boat people – and refusing to allow them to land, “oblivious of appalling implications…with photographs of sinking boats and drowning children.”