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Lunchtime No News

Paul Foot, 27 June 1991

Kill the messenger 
by Bernard Ingham.
HarperCollins, 408 pp., £17.50, May 1991, 0 00 215944 9
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... Ingham’s book is to be believed, during the crisis about the Westland helicopter company, Leon Brittan, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, allowed his head of information, Collette Bowe, to read out to the Press Association a letter from the Solicitor-General to the selfsame Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Heseltine). Neither the ...

Unmentionables

Hugo Young, 24 March 1994

Europe: The Europe We Need 
by Leon Brittan.
Hamish Hamilton, 248 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 241 00249 4
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... to, did not always do everything to resist. Given this recent history, the reader who picks up Sir Leon Brittan’s book is in for a startling experience. Sir Leon is, after all, a Conservative politician. Perhaps he has ambitions to return to Parliament – although as the EU’s Gatt negotiator and foreign trade ...

Westland Ho

Paul Foot, 6 February 1986

... Government. Early in October, in letters between the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Leon Brittan, and Sir John Cuckney, Brittan made it plain that he supported some kind of initiative from the European defence industries, so that, at the very least, the Westland board would have a choice of courses. These ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze, 24 November 1994

... Patrick Nicholls. Leaving aside the proper ‘constitutional’ resignations of Lord Carrington, Leon Brittan and Michael Heseltine, and the not so proper ministerial non-resignations that cannot be mentioned for fear of the libel laws, we can still see that the rotten-apple theory of ministerial misdemeanours breaks down, since the whole barrel is ...

Decisions

John Kenneth Galbraith, 6 March 1986

Truman 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 220 pp., £12.95, February 1986, 0 00 217584 3
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... talent for inspired public misbehaviour. Not since Profumo has there been anyone (certainly not Mr Leon Brittan) of sufficiently eloquent misfeasance or public default to justify a really interesting book. From this depressing background there now emerges Roy Jenkins. As a contrast he is nothing short of spectacular. In Birmingham, long in Whitehall, then ...

Diary

Michael Stewart: Staggeringly Complacent, 6 June 1985

... was difficult to discern. This unease is enhanced when a Home Secretary as relatively hard-line as Leon Brittan is shouted down, as he was recently at the annual conference of the Police Federation; and when one’s own and one’s friends’ children come back from perfectly peaceful demonstrations in Grosvenor Square with vivid accounts of specific ...

Jacob and Esau

Giles Merritt, 24 November 1988

Upwardly Mobile 
by Norman Tebbit.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79427 2
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Reflect on things past: The Memoirs of Lord Carrington 
Collins, 406 pp., £17.50, October 1988, 9780002176675Show More
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... Bench spokesman on employment, that he ‘managed to miss or muddle every important point’. Of Leon Brittan: ‘the Westland affair might not have been his undoing’ if he had adopted Tebbit’s own practice of minuting his meetings as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with an agreed aide-mémoire. Of Lord Cockfield, when he was Trade ...

Root Books

Julie Davidson, 7 November 1985

Henry Root’s A-Z of Women 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £7.95, July 1985, 0 297 78593 1
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... Norman Norman, to place an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph inviting contributions to the ‘Leon Brittan Fighting Fund’ gets this reply from the Telegraph’s worldly-wise classified advertisement department: ‘Thank you for your letter of 5th July together with Treasury Notes £20. Before we can insert your proposed advertisement we will ...

Stalker & Co

Damian Grant, 20 November 1986

... words, is with the DPP and probably won’t be made public. The primum mobile was the visit of Leon Brittan to the Manchester University Students’ Union on Friday 1 March 1985, in response to an invitation from the University Conservative Society. What happened on this evening was that a gathering of some five hundred University students, turning ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... could hardly withhold information from the Home Secretary? Nor is there any reason to suppose that Leon Brittan would behave any better than Michael Heseltine. Judith Cook’s powerfully argued book Who killed Hilda Murrell? makes it clear yet again that the police notion that it was an ‘ordinary burglary’ is simply not ...
A Matter of Justice: The Legal System in Ferment 
by Michael Zander.
Tauris, 323 pp., £16.50, February 1988, 1 85043 040 3
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The Coercive State: The Decline of Democracy in Britain 
by Paddy Hillyard and Janie Percy-Smith.
Fontana, 352 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 00 637083 7
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... critique. Anyone encountering the latter’s use of the adjective ‘liberal’ to describe Leon Brittan is likely to suspect that Zander’s relativities are lopsided. (A.P. Herbert would have likened it to the 13th chime of the clock – not only suspect in itself but casting doubt on everything that has preceded it.) And a look at Hillyard’s ...

Diary

Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word, 1 October 1987

... Lives, on Northern Ireland. The Government sought to ban it. The BBC resisted. The Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, was forced to intervene publicly, applying a power that had virtually atrophied from lack of use. This caused a strike at the BBC, and outrage both at home and abroad. It did immense damage to the most important international asset we have ...

Hi!

Michael Neve, 20 October 1983

Flashbacks 
by Timothy Leary.
Heinemann, 397 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 434 40975 8
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Freud and Cocaine 
by E.M. Thornton.
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 85634 139 8
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Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females 
by Andrea Dworkin.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 7043 3907 2
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Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis 
by Masud Khan.
Hogarth, 204 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 7012 0547 4
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... But there are worse people than Celtic loonies who believe life can be fun on acid, and if Leon Brittan hadn’t foolishly kept Leary out again, he could have stayed with me. The perils of believing in ‘the message’, or in the power of a single substance, occupy E.M. Thornton and Andrea Dworkin. Thornton’s bizarre, monomaniacal thesis is ...

Crimewatch UK

John Upton: The Tabloids, the Judges and the Mob, 21 September 2000

... should serve, but recommended that they be kept in prison for ‘a very long time’. In 1985, Leon Brittan, then Home Secretary, decided, in the course of an administrative review, that a 30-year sentence was appropriate for Hindley’s part in the murders. She wasn’t told this. In 1987, she confessed to her involvement in the killing of two more ...

Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?, 16 August 1990

... vendettas, coming undone so messily in public, which marked the process by which Sir Leon Brittan ultimately became one of those ‘unelected reject politicians’ of whom Ridley now warns? What was it all about? The short answer which sufficed at the time was that it was a storm in a teacup. The short answer which has stood the test of time ...

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