Love letters to Thatcher show Savile's elite access

LONDON: Jimmy Savile's hold over the British government in the 1980s has been revealed in a series of letters in which he declares his ''love'' for the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, according to newly released records from Britain's National Archives.

Files show that Savile met Mrs Thatcher at Downing Street and her official country residence at Chequers in his successful attempts to secure a donation from the government for Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

In a letter sent to Mrs Thatcher in February 1980, Savile said his ''girl patients'' were ''madly jealous'' of her. He later asked her to appear on his TV program Jim'll Fix It, a request she declined.

Since his death last year, it has been alleged that Savile sexually abused sick girls at the hospital, some of whom were as young as eight. Police suspect Savile committed at least 200 sex crimes, including more than 30 rapes, over several decades. Eight out of 10 of his victims were children.

As a major fund-raiser for the hospital, he was left ''free to roam'' the wards and even had his own room.

The hospital is only a few kilometres from Chequers. The pair became friends and reportedly spent New Year's Eve together 11 years in a row.


The cabinet office has refused to release a record of a telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and Savile in February 1980 and an undated letter because they were considered ''confidential''. They will not be published for another decade.

The first meeting detailed in the previously secret files took place in February 1980. A week later Savile sent Mrs Thatcher a handwritten note on personalised notepaper, in which he said he had delayed writing so as not to appear ''effusive''.

He wrote: ''Dear Prime Minister. I waited a week before writing to thank you for my lunch invitation because I had such a superb time I didn't want to be too effusive. My girl patients pretended to be madly jealous + wanted to know what you wore + what you ate. All the paralyzed lads called me 'Sir James' all week. They all love you. Me too!! Jimmy Savile OBE xxx.''

In January 1981, Savile and Mrs Thatcher met for lunch at Chequers, where he asked her for a ''goodwill gesture'' from the government in the form of a donation to Stoke Mandeville.

Her personal secretary, Caroline Stephens, subsequently wrote: ''Can you kindly let me know if you made any promises to Jimmy Savile when he lunched with you yesterday, for instance: ''(i) Did you offer him any money for Stoke Mandeville? (ii) Did you tell him that you would appear on Jim'll Fix It?''

The first question is annotated by hand by Mrs Thatcher, saying ''will tell you in detail. MT''. Next to the second is a simple ''no''.

Downing Street's private secretary, Mike Pattison, told his colleague at the health ministry that, armed with the hospital's plans, Savile had met Mrs Thatcher and suggested a ''government grant'' as a goodwill gesture.

''The Prime Minister said, was he thinking of a million pounds and Mr Savile replied that they would be grateful for any sum, and that there was absolutely no hurry at all, and that equally he would understand if she had to … say that this was not possible,'' he wrote.

At the time, the Conservatives had made cuts to benefits for the disabled. The health secretary, Norman Fowler, wrote to Mrs Thatcher to say that a £500,000 donation to the Stoke Mandeville spinal unit would show that the government's support for disabled people ''had not ended''.

Telegraph, London