He might well have been referring to the spats between John Major and Lord Lamont over the events of Black Wednesday. Before the pair became a latter-day Tweedledum and Tweedledee, bashing the living daylights out of each other, albeit in a refined sort of way, Major and Lamont were the best of chums. Lamont even acted as Major's campaign manager during the leadership battle when Margaret Thatcher quit. Now they are barely on speaking terms. Major even pointedly excluded him from a peerage in his resignation honours list, although Lamont was subsequently elevated to the Lords by another route. It has certainly degenerated into a playground punch-up. So, did Major keep a fuming Lamont waiting while the economy was draining away on Black Wednesday? Teacher should be told. Major says this was inconceivable. Lamont says that he has evidence demonstrating that this happened and that impatient Treasury officials were kept kicking their heels outside the PM's door while he engaged in a meeting with backbench MPs. This was such a defining moment in the Major premiership that it seems inconceivable that the two principal characters in this drama offer such different versions of this event. So who are we to believe? Oddly enough, Major's autobiography contains an anecdote allegedly about me. It was an incident that was said to have taken place in Colombia and involves, inside quotation marks, a conversation I am supposed to have had with the then prime minister. Well, I didn't even go on that trip. The Press Association was represented by a woman on that occasion, so it could hardly have been a case of mistaken identity. I suppose that prime ministers and chancellors have bigger things to worry about than the antics of reporters. But isn't it odd how the lapse of time can play such tricks with the memories of politicians? If I were teacher, I'd give them both detention. - Chris Moncrief is a political analyst at PA News.
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