Boris and Farage: Maggie would definitely agree with me

The battle over Margaret Thatcher's legacy continued today as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson put pen to paper to insist that the Iron Lady would have agreed with all their major policy positions.

Farage, who has just finished a 'common sense tour' around the country, said Thatcher would have stopped 1992's Maastricht Treaty if she had still been in No 10 – preventing the need for a Ukip party in the first place.

"Had she still been in power in 1992 there would have been a referendum on that treaty, and the need for Ukip would probably never have arisen," he wrote in the Times.

"What would she do today? She would trust the people and give them a say over the heads of the establishment.

"So she would offer an in/out referendum now — and campaign hard for an 'out' vote — to ascertain the will of the people."

Farage's version of history is intriguing although possibly misguided. Thatcher's conduct of home and foreign affairs was generally more pragmatic than her supporters and opponents give her credit for.

Thatcher grew more anti-EU in office, but she played a key role campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Community in 1975 and argued for a common European approach to defence in 1978.

While Farage looked to the past, Johnson was looking to the present in an article which imagined which policies the Iron Lady would currently be supporting.

Unsurprisingly, they chimed almost perfectly with his own policy positions, including on airport expansion.

"She would do anything to help the small businesses that are the backbone of the nation, and to make it easier for them to take on new workers," the London mayor wrote in the Telegraph.

"She would swing that iron handbag at ’elf and safety and the deranged compensation culture. She would cut business rates, and she would tell the banks that they should either lend to British business or get broken up.

"And yes, as the builder of the last truly transformative piece of transport infrastructure – the Chunnel – I think she would use her fantastic will to cut the cackle and get this country the aviation capacity it needs."