Ian Mac Arthur, Conservative member of Parliament for the Scot-constituency of Perth and East Perthshire, left the Summer School's International Seminar last and returned to London to vote on a motion of censure introduced against his party by Labour Party leader, Hugh Gaitskell.
McArthur called the debate on motion an "anti-climax," but confirmed that the ten days which followed Prime Minister Harold Millan's drastic Cabinet purge were "ten days of political turmoil."
The censure motion "actually did a great deal to unite the Tory Party," MarArthur asserted. Although Galtskell knew that this would happen, members of Labour expected him to challenge the government, and he had no other choice."
MacArthur reported that "Many Conservatives resented MacMillan brusque changes," but denied published reports that the Prime Minister was received in right-lip silence when rising to to Galtskell's motion of censure. "Actually," MacArthur said, "we gave a great cheer when MacMillan spoke."
Immediately after the Cabinet purge, however, the Prime Minister's position was very precarious. In one session of Commons, "MacMillan was received in stony silence, while the Tory back-benchers cheered for Selwyn Lloyd ousted Chencellor of the Exchequer."
"Conservatives were especially shocked by the brusqueness of the changes," MacArthur declared, "and everyone was a little bit hurt because the protocol of dismissal was thrown aside."
"The changes had to come before the Common Market debate reached a head in October, and many Conservatives have been clamoring for a shakeup in the top ranks of the Party," MacArthur said, "but no one expected the apparent haste of the move. MacMillan did not even exchange the traditional courtesy letters with Lloyd."
MacArthur theorized that some emergency development (such as a press leak) on the Thursday before the changes forced the Prime Minister to act so brusquely, because MacMillan ordinarily "would not tolerate such a lack of courtesy."
MacMillan shattered a long cultivated image that he is outwardly "calm and unruffled." In addition said MacArthur, "many felt it was just not right to treat Lloyd in this way, since he had been at the Prime Minister's right shoulder for years.'
"The new government is a cracking good one," MacArthur declared, and it contains the best intellects of the Tory Party. "If the new Government has made important advances by December, the Tories could be in a stronger position then ever. If not, the Party may be in real trouble."
MacArthur predicted that the next General Election will probably take place around May 1964.