Sir John's farewell 'love letter' to his boss Mrs Thatcher
As resignation letters go, Sir John Nott's missive on leaving the Thatcher government was somewhat unusual.
Sir John, the former MP for St Ives, left the government in 1983, the same year he was knighted, to be replaced as defence secretary by Michael Heseltine.
In a private note sent to Margaret Thatcher in addition to a formal resignation letter, he expressed his admiration for her in gushing terms in what at points verges on becoming a love letter.
Acknowledging in the handwritten letter, dated January 23 and included in the Margaret Thatcher Foundation's archive which has now been made public, that he could not express the true nature of their friendship in a public letter, he writes: "Your greatest triumph as a PM, if I may say so, is that your colleagues actually like you.
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"Some of them even love you, just a little!"
He went on to elaborate on his feelings: "It is inexcusable to say so nowadays but I actually admire you as a woman – your good looks, charm and bearing have always attracted me, as a man.
"I'm sorry, but what is wrong with that! I think your emotional, instinctive and unpragmatic approach to most issues – so very unmasculine – is the secret of your success in the male-dominated world of politics.
"Today there is no way that a methodical, rational and consensus approach to the nation's problems can overcome them.
"Until you gained the leadership we were a 'Whips Party'; I am glad that we are now a gut 'instincts party'."
He signs the letter off with: "Love – John."
Sir John mentioned the letter in his memoir, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, and notes the Prime Minister did not reply.
He originally served as a junior Treasury minister under Prime Minister Ted Heath.
When Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives won the 1979 General Election he was appointed to the Cabinet as secretary of state for trade and became secretary of state for defence in January 1981.
Sir John, who lives at St Erth, West Cornwall, was widely criticised over the 1981 Defence White Paper for his decision to cut back on naval expenditure shortly before the outbreak of the Falklands War, but survived until a 1983 reshuffle.