​Clashes in 1984

​During her time in office, Margaret Thatcher's relations with the Church of England were often strained. When Robert Runcie was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1980, it began a decade in which the Church's was often the strongest opposition voice.

As a result, the right-wing press was highly critical. Lord Runcie told his biographer Humphrey Carpenter: "I remember Jim Prior used to say to me: 'It's not that she [Thatcher] initiated the attacks on you in the papers, but she could have called them off at a moment's notice'" (Robert Runcie: The reluctant archbishop (Hodder Headline, 1996).

The inner-city riots in 1981 began a debate about responsibility for the poor. This culminated in the report Faith in the City, published in 1985 by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Urban Priority Areas. This was described by an unnamed member of the Thatcher Cabinet - widely believed to have been Lord Tebbit - as "pure Marxist theology".

Read the full story on the Church Times website.