Rishi Sunak said Nigel Lawson taught him that “preparation, hard work and attention to detail” was needed to make “radical” changes to the economy in a tribute article to the Conservative former chancellor.
The Prime Minister credited the party grandee and leading Brexiteer, who has died aged 91, with changing “Britain for the better”.
In a piece entitled “What Nigel Lawson taught me” in The Spectator, the influential right-wing magazine once edited by Lord Lawson, Mr Sunak pointed to their shared belief in taming inflation before reducing taxes.
“It was an image which summed up the intellectual confidence that he brought to the job. But it was also a reminder of the sheer amount of preparation, hard work and attention to detail that he had put in to get the party and the government into a position where it could do those radical things.”
The former MP served as Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor from 1983 until his resignation in 1989, before sitting in the House of Lords as Baron Lawson of Blaby until his retirement in December.
Mrs Thatcher, Lord Lawson and their allies “turned the intellectual tide in this country,” Mr Sunak said.
He continued: “One of the lessons I take from Nigel’s life is that the greater the mission, the more thorough the preparation must be.
“As financial secretary to the Treasury, he formulated the medium-term financial plan for Geoffrey Howe and Margaret Thatcher which was based on the premise that public spending and inflation must be controlled before taxes can be cut substantially.”
The Prime Minister said he was “grateful” when Lord Lawson endorsed his Tory leadership campaign last summer.
“I was trailing in the polls and there was little benefit to him getting involved. But he came forward to make the argument that ‘the only way to substantial, lasting reductions in taxation was first to tackle inflation’.”