The Iron Lady's Response to a Heckler Circa 1980

During a Conservative Party Conference in 1980 in Brighton,  Margaret Thatcher was interrupted by a protester. According to the New Statesman:


My Lords, I decided to go even further afield than that, and I was informed that the item had been included in the Granada Television programme What the Papers Say, on 16th October, in which Mr. Ian 1337 Waller of the Sunday Telegraph broadcast as follows–and I have for reference, if the need arises, a complete transcript of the whole programme. This is what Mr. Waller said: “In fact, the only real violence of the day took place in the conference hall itself–and the guilty people either party officials or supporters. It happened to one of the hecklers who had managed to get through the strict security and Mrs. Thatcher managed to turn his brief outburst to good advantage; [she said] ‘Never mind. It’s wet outside. You can’t blame them. It’s always better where the Tories are’.” 

Then Mr. Waller continued: “The heckler, Mr. Mike Carver, a London printer and SWP supporter, fared less well however … ‘I saw him carried out face hanging down and being handled with rather less respect than a side of beef’.” My Lords, I have given those four quotations, for which I have the original documents, to illustrate how wide the difference is between the verdict of four distinguished journalists–two of them very eminent distinguished journalists–as shown by what they said and wrote, and the explanation given by the Minister. The Minister said that they were “escorted out”. The words “escorted out” are capable, I suppose, of being stretched a little–I doubt whether you could stretch them to frog-marching, although perhaps it might be permissible–but they are certainly not consistent with the evidence of these four journalists. Both versions cannot be true. My Lords, there are certain grave implications about this difference which I shall deal with a little later on in what I have to say, as I shall submit to your Lordships that the status of Parliament is involved in this.

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