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Thatcher urged to 'abandon Liverpool' after the Toxteth riots

Government papers from 1981, made public for the first time today, show that Margaret Thatcher's government considered allowing the "managed decline" of Liverpool in the wake of the Toxteth riots.

The documents show the then Chancellor, Geoffrey Howe, saying that regenerating Merseyside would be like "making water flow uphill". Today Lord Howe said he did not recall the discussion.

The newly-released National Archives files also reveal that Margaret Thatcher considered arming the police during the riots of 1981.

Jon Brain reports.

  • 30 Dec 2011