Margaret Thatcher on the campaign trail in her constituency of Finchley around 1983
Tim Bouverie, political producer, is out in Margaret Thatcher’s old constituency with filming with Michael Crick today. He sends this report:
Finchley is home to a large section of Britain’s Jewish community. And out on the streets today we find them strongly in favour of the Conservative party.
A recent poll by the Jewish Chronicle showed that 69 per cent of Jewish voters will back David Cameron in May.
However an Ashcroft poll the other day placed the Conservatives one point behind Labour in this swing seat.
Finchley was, of course, Margaret Thatcher’s seat but Labour held it between 1997 and 2010.
Foreign policy and Conservative support for Israel – contrasted with Ed Miliband’s critical stance, following last years war in Gaza – is the most important issue according to the Jewish voters we spoke to. This is nothing new.
On their first visit to Washington together, Margaret Thatcher and her then Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, had a blazing row after Carrington had suggested a more even-handed approach towards the PLO.
“Your foreign policy is going to lose me the next election”, said an incandescent, Mrs T. “And, it’s going to lose me Finchley!”
Carrington, normally the model of patrician manners, bit back, apparently saying: “If you think British foreign policy should be decided on whether you lose Finchley, you can find a new Foreign Secretary!” and stormed out of the room.
Later that day, Thatcher sidled up to Carrington: “We didn’t do very well earlier”. This, Carrington reflected, was the closest he ever heard Thatcher get to an apology.