In the Cabinet and Out of Labour, 1974–2018
When Labour won the 1974 general election, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson appointed Shirley Williams first as Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection and next as Secretary of State for Education. In 1979, Labour lost the election and Williams lost her seat, the only Cabinet Minister to do so. As the Labour Party drifted to the left, Shirley Williams lost confidence in it. In 1981, she resigned from the party and helped create the Social Democratic Party. This chapter examines her role as Cabinet Minister and chart Williams’ disillusion with the party she had joined as a teenager. It concludes with a discussion of her political life.