Throught the mists of time

Posted by Word Camel on March 15, 2003

In Reply to: Spending more time with ones family posted by Henry on March 14, 2003

: : When did this become a euphamism for being sacked? I seem to recall Nigel Lawson giving this reason for his resignation without a trace of irony, but surely it's a little older than that?

: Norman Fowler had a young family and certainly resigned from the Cabinet to spend more time with his family;
: 'A "safe pair of hands", who in 1990 left Mrs Thatcher's government to "spend more time with his family" (and write his memoirs) but kept being recalled to the colours.'
: Even if he was not the first, this event certainly popularised the phrase. Others then copied it. Even though they may depart involuntarily, ministers are still required to write letters of resignation.

: Of course, Tony Benn has done the opposite;
: 'And yet this pillar of parliament will leave the Commons in 2001 to, he says, "devote more time to politics".'

It was Norman Fowler, not Nigel Lawson. Thank you, Henry. I actually saw this used the other night on the American 'cop show', The Shield and remembered hearing first hearing it in Britain.