Oliver Letwin to write a book about how MPs learn from mistakes

Written by James Millar on 21 July 2017 in Culture

Former cabinet minister has a string of gaffes to his name

Oliver Letwin, whose career has been littered with embarrassing episodes, is to write a book about the Conservative party and how it should move forward.

The book, 'Hearts and Minds: The Battle for the Conservative Party from Thatcher to the Present', will aim to "persuade the reader that politicians are capable of recognising their mistakes and learning from them" according to the publicity blurb. Which is convenient because Letwin has been responsible for a slew off gaffes over the course of his career which includes time in Cabinet as Minister for Government Policy under David Cameron.

In 2001 when a shadow Treasury minister he had to go into hiding during that year's election campaign after claiming the Tories wanted to cut public spending by £20 billion rather than the £8 billion they had publicly stated. 

He was embarrassed in 2016 when the National Archives released a memo he'd written for Margaret Thatcher in 1985 after the Broadwater Farm riots blaming the disturbances on "bad moral attitudes" and warning any extra money for the area would go into the "drug and disco trade".

In 2011 a photographer followed him walking through a London park and depositing letters and papers in the bins. He had to apologise for breaching data protection rules after Downing Street said it was "clearly not a sensible way to dispose of documents".

The book, to be published by Biteback in October, is the West Dorset MPs take on the central themes and ideas of the modern Conservative party from the time of his old boss Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May's tenure in Number 10. May sacked Letwin from his job as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when she moved in to Downing Street.

The book is also part memoir from his childhood with American academic parents to his time at the heart of coalition negotiations in 2010. And it will also include his reflections on the EU referendum and the general election in June. 





Picture credit:  Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/PA Images

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