Baroness Thatcher got the thumbs-down from 11 of the 45 fiction and non-fiction authors who took part in the Historical Writers Association survey, including the organisation’s former chair Manda Scott, who condemned her for “neo-liberalism, deindustrialisation, free market ideology, Scottish poll tax, selling council houses and failing to act on early stages of global warming”.
But the choice was disputed by former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown, who told the Harrogate History Festival that the Iron Lady was “a great and necessary destroyer”.
“I put her down as one of the most successful PM’s of all time, not because I agreed with her, but because she laid out her stall and she achieved it, and Britain in many ways was stronger afterwards - although in many ways it was also weaker, particularly our sense of communities,” said Lord Ashdown.
Almost 100 days after leaving office, Mr Cameron was named the worst PM of the last 100 years by 10 authors, accused by HWA chair Imogen Robertson of “sleep-walking us into Brexit”.
Author Tom Harper gave Cameron his vote, saying: “Neville Chamberlain had to contend with Hitler, Eden with Nasser: Cameron couldn’t see off Nigel Farage.”
Chamberlain was ranked third in the worst PM stakes, with eight votes, and was Lord Ashdown’s choice for his policy of appeasing Nazi Germany.
“I think Chamberlain could have personally prevented the Second World War,” said the Lib Dem peer.
Tony Blair was the Labour PM featuring highest on the list, with five votes, followed by Gordon Brown on four.
Tory Sir Edward Heath also got four votes while Andrew Bonar Law, Herbert Asquith and Sir Anthony Eden got a single vote each.