Margaret Thatcher considered taking over the BBC as a result of the corporation’s coverage of the 1982 Falklands war. As Prime Minister she considered the reporting to be “treacherous”, and put her Deputy under pressure to invoke emergency powers enabling the government to control output.
The claims came in a new book about the BBC, and the Daily Mail reports the protocols Thatcher wanted to use are there to “protect Britain’s national interests and the morale of the country and the troops”. Both her and Denis were said to be furious over a Panorama episode which gave a platform to anti-war figures. The programme also gave the impression senior military commanders were against the war.
The book says: “Whitelaw wanted to ‘let them get it off their chests’. Whitelaw was under immense pressure, however, to use the power that Government’s possessed under the Corporation’s Charter to take it over and to direct what it broadcast. These powers existed to cover the transition to war in a nuclear attack. Whitelaw saw the blood-letting as a last-ditch attempt to protect the BBC from something far worse: government control.”
Paul Osborne from the Thatcherite pressure group, Conservative Way Forward, told Breitbart London: “This story shows just how important Margaret Thatcher was to the history of this country. She was constantly under fire from left wing elements in the BBC and the Trade Union movement.
“We should all salute a woman who was willing to do whatever it took to make this country great again. The left was full of people who did not want us to stand up to Argentine bullies over the Falklands, but they were proved wrong.”
After the war was over Denis told journalists: “I will never forget it. How could the bloody BBC question the integrity of the military? I was livid with rage and have hated them since that day.” In the end the powers were not used but Thatcher remained sceptical about the BBC until her death in 2013.