Nigel Lawson, a prominent figure in the Thatcher era, has passed away at the age of 91.The BBC reported the news, but no details were provided about his date, location or cause of death.
Known for his brash, provocative nature, and as a self-described ‘radical Tory’, Lawson remained in the public eye many years after resigning from Thatcher’s government due to a disagreement with a fiscal policy rival. During his reign as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lawson pushed through Thatcher’s vision of liberalizing economic regulations, slashing taxes and interest rates, as well as presiding over the “Big Bang” in 1986 which resulted in a surge of investment in London, including the Canary Wharf project. This period is known as the Lawson Boom.
The Lawson Boom eventually came to a swift end, with inflation surpassing 7 percent and the country eventually sliding into recession by the 1990s. Despite this setback, Lawson remained committed to the ‘Thatcherite revolution’ which he believed had helped unleash the economic potential of Britain, and pushed for the UK to exit from the European Union. He devoted time and energy to establishing the ‘Conservatives for Britain’ group to advocate for the ‘leave’ side in the Brexit referendum, where he was met with similar criticism of hypocrisy given that he was applying for residency in France at the time and voicing his love for Europe.
Lawson was also known for his controversial opinions surrounding climate change, often taking potshots at activists and scientists who warned of the consequences of a warming planet. He wrote a book in 2008 titled “An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming”. He was also the author of a diet book “The Nigel Lawson Diet Book” in 1996 after successfully losing 70 pounds.
Apart his political career, Nigel Lawson was the father of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, whose culinary achievements and personal life often dominated the limelight than her cooking.
Lawson was born in London’s Hampstead district in 1932, and was educated at Christ Church college, University of Oxford in 1954. He had served in the Royal Naval Reserve for two years, rising to commander of a torpedo boat. He had begun his career as a journalist, working for the Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph and the BBC, before he was appointed editor of the Spectator in 1966. He was elected to Parliament in 1974 and remained until 1992, before joining the House of Lords.
The legacy of Nigel Lawson be felt across British affairs, with Prime Minister David Cameron noting that even decades after Lawson had left the Treasury, people would often refer to his actions to prioritize their own decisions. His outgoing personality, charisma and political sagacity – while often seen as controversial – make him a difficult pioneer to forget.