Norman Lamont

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Norman Stewart Hughson Lamont, Baron Lamont of Lerwick PC (born 8 May 1942) is a British Conservative politician who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of John Major from 1990 to 1993. His term of office was not a happy one as the United Kingdom was in a recession, and it included the embarrassment of Black Wednesday on 16 September 1992 when the Pound Sterling was forced out of the exchange rate mechanism. After Lamont was dismissed in May 1993 he made clear his personal dislike of John Major. He lost his Parliamentary seat in the 1997 election and was subsequently made a Peer; in the House of Lords he has been a strong opponent of the European Union.


  • Rising unemployment and the recession have been the price that we have had to pay to get inflation down. That price is well worth paying.
    • Hansard, HC 6Ser vol 191 col 413 (16 May 1991) [1].
  • The green shoots of economic spring are appearing once again.
    • Speech at the Conservative Party Conference, 9 October 1991.
  • There are going to be no devaluations, no leaving the ERM. We are absolutely committed to the ERM. It is at the centre of our policy. We are going to maintain sterling's parity and we will do whatever is necessary, and I hope there is no doubt about that at all.
    • Robin Oakley and Colin Narborough, "Lamont shows his determination to sink or swim with the pound", The Times, 27 August 1992.
    • Statement on the morning of 26 August 1992, at the start of the economic problems which eventually produced Black Wednesday.
  • As a result of uncertainties caused by the French referendum, massive speculative flows have continued to disrupt the functioning of the exchange rate mechanism. As Chairman of Ecofin I have tonight called an urgent meeting of the EC's monetary committee to consider how stability might be restored to the markets over the next few days.
    In the meantime the Government has decided that Britain's best interests would be best secured by suspending our membership of the ERM with immediate effect. As a result, the second of the two interest rate rises announced today will not take effect.
    • Larry Elliott, Will Hutton and Julie Wolf, "Pound drops out of ERM", The Guardian, 17 September 1992.
    • Speech outside the Treasury on 'Black Wednesday' (16 September 1992) announcing the ERM withdrawal.
  • My wife said she'd never heard me singing in the bath until last week.
    • Anatole Kaletsky, "Lamont looks on the bright side", The Times, 22 September 1992.
    • At a press conference in Washington DC, 21 September 1992. The event "last week" was 'Black Wednesday'.
  • John Pienaar (BBC reporter): Which do you regret more, singing in the bath when forced to withdraw from the ERM, or talking prematurely of green shoots last autumn?
    Norman Lamont: I .. Je ne regrette rien.
    • Sheila Gunn, "Chancellor warns Newbury against short-term protest", The Times, 24 April 1993.
    • At a press conference in support of Julian Davidson, Conservative candidate in the Newbury byelection, on 23 April 1993.
  • There is something wrong with the way in which we make our decisions. The Government listen too much to the pollsters and the party managers. The trouble is that they are not even very good at politics, and they are entering too much into policy decisions. As a result, there is too much short-termism, too much reacting to events, and not enough shaping of events. We give the impression of being in office but not in power. Far too many important decisions are made for 36 hours' publicity.
    • Hansard, HC 6Ser vol 226 cols 284-5 (9 June 1993) [2].
    • In his resignation speech to the House of Commons.
  • What is the right exchange rate at one point is not necessarily the right exchange rate at another.
    • As he stated on Channel 4 News, 15th December 2008

About Lamont[edit]

  • Jonathan Ross: Good to see you - how's it hanging?
    Julian Clary: Oh, very well thank you. Very nice of you to recreate Hampstead Heath for me here [laughter]. As a matter of fact, I've just been fisting Norman Lamont … [prolonged laughter]
    Ross: Let me ask you Julian ...
    Clary: Talk about a red box.
    • Comedian Julian Clary at the British Comedy Awards (12 December 1993). Lamont had earlier presented one of the awards. Although received in uproarious laughter on the night, Clary's remark (televised live) was heavily criticised in the press and derailed his career.

External links[edit]

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