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Lawson stood unsuccessfully at the 1970 General Election for the Eton and Slough seat While in Opposition, Lawson co-ordinated tactics with rebellious Government backbenchers Jeff Rooker and Audrey Wise to secure legislation providing for the automatic indexation of tax thresholds to prevent the tax burden being increased by inflation (typically in excess of 10% per annum during that Parliament).
On the election of Margaret Thatcher's government, Lawson was appointed to the post of Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
Lawson oversaw the sudden deregulation of financial markets in 1986, commonly referred to as the "Big Bang".
Lawson was a backbencher from 1989 until he retired in 1992, and now sits in the House of Lords.
In the Cabinet reshuffle of September 1981, Lawson was promoted to the position of Secretary of State for Energy.
In this role his most significant action was to prepare for what he saw as an inevitable full-scale strike in the coal industry (then state-owned since nationalisation by the post-war Labour party government of Clement Attlee) over the closure of deep coal mines whose uneconomic operation accounted for the coal industry's business losses and consequent requirement for state subsidy.
He was a key proponent of the Thatcher Government's privatisation policy.
During his tenure at the Department of Energy he set the course for the later privatisations of the gas and electricity industries and on his return to the Treasury he worked closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in privatising British Airways, British Telecom, and British Gas.
The only thing people complained about were the walnuts (obviously).
"[A] mixture of free markets, financial discipline, firm control over public expenditure, tax cuts, nationalism, "Victorian values" (of the Samuel Smiles self-help variety), privatisation and a dash of populism." After the Thatcher Government's re-election in 1983, Lawson was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in succession to Geoffrey Howe.