Saturday, 21 March 2015

Minister's Lockerbie press briefing leads to the chop

On this date in 1989 a debate was held in the House of Commons as part of the fallout from media reports following the “lobby terms” lunch briefing on the Lockerbie investigation given by Margaret Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Transport, Paul Channon, to five political correspondents on 16 March. The Hansard report of this debate (on a private notice question from the Leader of the Opposition, Neil Kinnock) can be read here. While a handful of Conservative MPs offered somewhat tepid support to Mr Channon, the bulk of those who participated -- Labour, Liberal Democrat (particularly Paddy Ashdown) and Scottish National Party (particularly Jim Sillars) -- were utterly scathing. The wounds to the Secretary of State were politically fatal. He limped on until 24 July 1989 when he was sacked by Mrs Thatcher.

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