- Sir Bernard served as Mrs Thatcher’s press secretary throughout her time as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990
- He grew up as a Labour supporter and was a member of the party until he started working for the Civil Service
- But Sir Bernard insisted that if voters want to ‘preserve British society’ they must choose Boris Johnson’s Conservatives
- He said Labour had been ‘captured by totalitarians’ whose ‘Momentum police’ wished to ‘enforce their rule’
- The former press chief also said he was ‘filled with contempt’ with ‘moderate’ Labour MPs who have failed to prevent Labour being taken over by ‘Marxist mob’
I wrote this story on December 11 2019, ahead of the December 12 general election. It wasn’t published on MailOnline so I’ve posted it here.
Margaret Thatcher’s former press secretary has claimed voters must choose Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in Thursday’s election if they want to ‘preserve a free society’ and prevent Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘totalitarian’ Labour party from wrecking Britain.
Sir Bernard Ingham, 87, who grew up supporting Labour and served as Mrs Thatcher’s press chief throughout her time as Prime Minister, spoke out as polls showed Thursday’s election could result in a hung parliament.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Sir Bernard insisted that if voters want to ‘preserve British society’ they cannot vote for Mr Corbyn’s party because it has been ‘captured by totalitarians’ whose ‘Momentum police’ wished to ‘enforce their rule’.
Pictured: Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister from 1979 until 1990
His warning to voters came as the latest polling from YouGov showed Mr Johnson’s predicted majority has halved from a projected 68 seats a fortnight ago to just 28/
The organisation’s final MRP model puts the Conservatives on 339 seats, with Labour on 231 and the Liberal Democrats on 15.
But YouGov warned that the model’s margin of error leaves open the prospect of a hung parliament, with the possible Tory seat total as low as 311.
However, Sir Bernard insisted that there was only one choice for voters at the ballot box.
He told MailOnline: ‘For me only one thing matters in this election apart from Brexit as a means to an end – a end to uncertainty and stagnation.
‘It is whether we value our free society or not. If you do, then you cannot vote for a party that has been captured by totalitarians whose Momentum police will enforce their rule.
‘If you want to preserve British society, however faded its glory, then there is only one party – the Tories – you can vote for.’
The Labour party has been dogged by claims of anti-Semitism, with Mr Corbyn himself repeatedly criticised for his alleged failure to act on alleged cases.
A recent leak of party documents revealed by the Sunday Times laid bare a mammoth backlog of unresolved complaints, with 130 cases of anti-Jewish racism left unresolved.
And activists for Momentum, the hard-left pressure group established to support Mr Corbyn after he became Labour Party leader in 2015, have previously protested against the Queen, while the group’s national co-ordinator, Laura Parker, called on its followers to ‘occupy bridges and blockade roads’ in the wake of Mr Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament in the summer.
But Sir Bernard, who worked for Labour grandee Tony Benn before taking up his role with Mrs Thatcher and was a Labour member before joining the civil service, slammed Labour MPs who have not openly opposed Mr Corbyn and Momentum.
He said: ‘I am filled with contempt for moderate Labour MPs who have allowed their party to be taken over by the Marxist mob.’
His comments were followed by bombshell remarks from Labour’s shadow health secretary, John Ashworth, that voters ‘can’t stand’ Mr Corbyn and that the party’s MPs ‘f***ed it up’ in 2016 in their attempt to remove the Labour leader, saying they went too early.
His remarks were made in a telephone conversation between Mr Ashworth and a Tory friend which was secretly recorded before being leaked to the Guido Fawkes website.
Mr Ashworth has since claimed that his comments were ‘banter’.
He told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire yesterday: ‘We were having banter with each other. We are joking around. No I don’t mean it, because I’m joking around with my mate because he is a Tory and he is saying things’.
In April, Sir Bernard savaged a claim by the veteran pro-European Ken Clarke, who was then a Conservative MP, that Mrs Thatcher would have voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Mr Clarke had said in an interview with The Guardian that Mrs Thatcher would have ‘voted remain, just as she campaigned very heavily to remain’ in the 1975 referendum.
But Sir Bernard forcefully hit back at Mr Clarke, saying his comments were ‘self-serving arrogance’.
‘I think it is ridiculous to claim she would have voted Remain just because, like me, she voted to confirm our membership of the Common Market in 1975,’ he told MailOnline.
Sir Bernard instead argued that developments within the EU since Mrs Thatcher left office may have prompted her to ‘threaten to leave’.
He pointed to the adoption of the Euro single currency, which he argued has ‘devastated southern Europe’, and the moves towards a ‘single foreign policy’ and ‘Euro-army’ as factors which might have changed Mrs Thatcher’s mind.
‘All this ran against the grain of Mrs T’s convictions and anyone, Ken Clarke or others, who suggests she would have sat unmoved by this nonsense is incredible,’ he said.
‘It is true she regarded referenda as the tool of dictators and that she never said to me either before or after 1990 that we should leave the EC.
‘My best guess – and this is only a guess – is that she would have eventually challenged – and harried – the EU to drop its damaging federalism and go for a loose, wider freely co-operating group of nation states.
‘I would not have put it past her, given no movement on the part of Brussels, to threaten to leave if it did not reform.
‘I think anybody who thinks she would never have acted on her threat is totally ignorant of what made her,’ he added.