In Praise of Cecil Parkinson 1997
Former Tory chairman Cecil Parkinson gave the best performance I can remember by a politician responding to results on election night coverage. Cecil was on duty for the Tories in 1997. He did not make the mistake which many losing-party politicians make of trying to put any kind of positive spin on the results. He admitted cheerfully from the start that the Tories were taking an almighty beating.
In those days Labour seats tended to declare results earlier than Tory ones and it took hours before a Tory win actually appeared. I think it was Mid-Surrey. Cecil responded eagerly: “Mid-Surrey! We’re on our way!” He then had a long wait for another Tory win but when it appeared he said “I’m glad we’ve got two. We can have a leadership contest now.”
A true stylist in defeat. Others tonight please follow.