"I want to see us build a country that is at ease with itself, a country that is confident, and a country that is prepared and willing to make the changes necessary to provide a better quality of life for all our citizens" - 1990
"I want changes to produce across the whole of this country a genuinely classless society so people can rise to whatever level from whatever level they started" - 1990
"I believe in opportunity for all" - 1992
"It is time to get back to basics: to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family, and not shuffling it off on the state" - 1993
"The new Government inherits a sparkling economy and unemployment below 6 per cent and falling rapidly. No Government have ever had such an inheritance" - 1997
"When I talked of a classless society
I wanted to say that the people who pushed wheelbarrows when I mixed cement
for a living were human beings worthy of respect. Class distinction is
to me exactly the same as racial discrimination". - 1999
In 1987 the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, appointed Major to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. This was said to be at the request of Nigel Lawson, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time. Without this request, Major would have become the Chief Whip, and as Major has said, the course of history could have been somewhat different.
Just two years after his appointment as Chief Secretary he became the Foreign Secretary, a promotion from the most junior members of the Cabinet to one of the most senior. The appointment was seen as a surprise, and was taken as a snub by Geoffrey Howe who was the previous holder of the position. Major argued with Thatcher that maybe he wasn't the best person to take on this job, as he feared that he would just be Thatcher's man in the Foreign Office.
Just three months after his appointment to Foreign Secretary he became the Chancellor of the Exchequer after the resignation of Nigel Lawson. By this time Thatcher's popularity in the parliamentary party was in freefall after problems with damaging statements by former cabinet Ministers, the poll tax debacle and the European splits. After presenting just one budget, Major became Prime Minister after Thatcher resigned due to lack of support amongst her own MPs.
Major won the 1992 General Election for the Conservatives to the surprise of many observers who had thought that Neil Kinnock's Labour Party would win.
In June 1995, to counter damaging party splits, John Major resigned as Conservative Party Leader to fight a leadership contest. Beating John Redwood comprehensively in the first round there was no need for a second round which had been expected. Major stayed as Party leader and Prime Minister, with the acceptance that there would be no further leadership contests until the General Election.
Hampered by party splits and a small majority which later became a minority, Major was unable to win the 1997 General Election, and Tony Blair's Labour Party won a landslide on the May 1st General Election.
25th October 2004 - John Major, speaking on BBC's Breakfast With Frost, has said that anyone voting UKIP risks giving their vote to Labour. Mr Major said, "they are a single issue party, and other than on their particular subject they have nothing to say".
25th October 2004 - Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the National Lottery, which Mr Major instigated in 2004, the former Prime Minister said, "the lottery is now being used as a substitute for Government spending, which it was not intended for". The Government responded that although the lottery was started under the Major administration, it now needed updating and re-energising.
8th September 2004 - John Redwood, who stood against John Major for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1995, has been returned to the shadow Cabinet by the Conservative leader, Michael Howard.
20th May 2004 - John Major has stated that he has no wish to either be knighted or enter the House of Lords, but said that when Prime Minister senior figures did lobby him for honours. He also added that he did not believe that Lord Archer should lose his peerage, stating that such action would be political.
24th March 2004 - Howell James, who worked for John Major when he was Prime Minister, has been appointed as the current Prime Minister's Permanent Secretary for Government communications.
2nd March 2004 - Alistair Campbell, Prime Minister Blair's former Press Secretary, has criticised John Major for opportunism after his calls for the Attorney General's advice on the Iraq war to be published.
29th February 2004 - John Major, speaking on BBC One's Breakfast With Frost, said that he believed the Government should publish in full the advice given by the Attorney General to the Prime Minister on the legality of going to war. He also made comments about the recent difficulties experienced by the BBC over the Hutton Report, and he said that lessons should be learned, but that he did not support the merging or privatisation of the service. He added that he thought the BBC produced "too many trivial programmes, quiz shows and reality shows" instead of concentrating on high-end programming, which would still attract an audience.
26th February 2004 - Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served as Foreign Secretary in John Major's Government from 1995 to 1997, has won the Conservative nomination for the seat of Kensington and Chelsea. Currently held by Michael Portillo, who is standing down at the next General Election, Sir Malcolm said that he was delighted to have won the nomination. He lost his Edinburgh Pentlands seat at the 1997 General Election and failed to win it back at the 2001 General Election.
16th November 2003 - John Major has said that the Conservative Party were right to replace Iain Duncan Smith as Leader of the Conservative Party. Duncan Smith recently failed to win a vote of confidence from his own MPs, and was replaced by Michael Howard, who served as Home Secretary in John Major's Government from 1993 to 1997. He said that the years since 1997 had not been wasted years, but that Michael Howard now presented a very real opportunity to win the next General Election for the Conservatives. He added that he did feel sorry for the way in which Mr Duncan Smith lost his position as Leader of the Party and added that he was also hopeful that Kenneth Clarke might return to a front-bench position if the Conservatives were to win the next General Election.
29th October 2003 - Iain Duncan Smith, the Leader of the Conservative Party, has lost a vote of confidence in his leadership by 75 votes to 90 votes. He has now resigned as Leader of the Party, and a leadership election will be called.
26th August 2003 - Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has launched an attack on the Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith. He said that ten years ago Mr. Duncan Smith's clique was referred to as nutters, but now the main opposition party was run by these individuals. He said that people such as Chris Patten, Douglas Hurd and Kenneth Clarke, key members of John Major's Government (Party Chairman, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor respectively) were now marginalised.
1st August 2003 - Denis Thatcher, the late husband of the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, has said in a final interview only now screened, that his wife was forced out of office and that she was the best Prime Minister since Winston Churchill. He added that he believed that John Major was a ghastly Prime Minister, and said that the current disaster in the Conservative Party would not have happened if he had lost in 1992.
22nd May 2003 - John Major has said that there should be a referendum on the proposed new European constitution, which will change the way in which the European Union works. He said that it would be a tragedy if the Government could use its Parliamentary majority to smuggle through changes to the constitutional status of the United Kingdom without the majority of the British people understanding what has been committed in their name.
3rd April 2003 - John Major has said that he hoped the people of Northern Ireland would see peace in the near future. Speaking in Warrington, ten years after a bomb planted by the IRA killed two children, Mr Major said that he hoped the Northern Ireland Assembly could be re -opened and the search for peace continued.
6th October 2002 - Iain Duncan Smith, the current Conservative Party leader, has said that the unpopularity of the Conservative Party is not down to him, but was the fault of John Major's 1990-1997 administration. He said that:
"Spending went through the roof, taxes started to rise, and the result of all that - and the Exchange Rate Mechanism - is that we put real tightness on everyone."
5th October 2002 - Kenneth Clarke, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has criticised the current Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, for failing to get the Party's message across. He added that he expected the Conservative Party to start delivering policies, and although he said he expected Duncan Smith to lead the Party into the next General Election, he refused to rule himself out of any future leadership contest.
2nd October 2002 - John Major has confirmed that he is not planning to make a statement over his affair with Edwina Currie in the 1980s. Edwina Currie has answered questions on BBC radio about the affair.
1st October 2002 - John Major has confirmed that he did have an affair with Edwina Currie from 1984 to 1988, which ended following his promotion to the Cabinet.
27th July 2002 - John Major has confirmed that he would have resigned sooner if he had known the problems he was to have uniting the Conservative Party after the 1995 leadership election. He made the comments in the Daily Telegraph whilst reviewing a book by former Cabinet Minister Ian Lang.
25th March 2002 - John Major has cautioned against joining the Euro in the near future, saying that:
"It should not join yet. If it were to do so, it would be joining a weaker currency in a weaker European economy at the wrong stage in the economic cycle without adequate convergence and at a time when sterling is too strong."
8th September 2001 - Iain Duncan Smith, a rebel in the John Major years, has become the new Conservative Party leader. He beat Ken Clarke in a vote of Conservative Party members, despite Ken Clarke winning the support of more MPs.
25th August 2001 - John Major has said that he favours Ken Clarke in the leadership contest of the Conservative Party. Writing in the Spectator Magazine he said that Iain Duncan Smith was inexperienced and untested, and that Ken Clarke had the experience and clout to win the next General Election.
1st May 2001 - William Hague's Conservative Party has lost the General Election leaving the Labour Party with their second large majority.
20th December 2000 - John Major has contributed to the fox-hunting debate in the House of Commons. His speech is here.
8th December 2000 - Kenneth Clarke, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Major administration from 1993 to 1997, has said today that he would like a return to the Conservative front-bench, but that he would only do so if he was allowed to represent his views on Europe.
7th December 2000 - John Major has called upon the European Commission to detail their plans for the future of the European Union saying that "Uncertainty is debilitating. We have uncertainty. Let us therefore offer certainty and the Commission can do that".
5th December 2000 - Norman Lamont, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Major administration from 1990-1993, has today been awarded a medal by supporters of General Pinochet, for Lord Lamont's help in supporting the former Chilean dictator.
27th November 2000 - John Major has made a speech in the House of Commons in response to the Prime Minister's plan to commit British forces to the European Rapid Reaction Force. His speech is here.
26th October 2000 - John Major has made a speech in the House of Commons in response to the publication of the BSE enquiry. His speech is here.
29th July 2000 - John Major's son, James Major, has become a father after the birth of Harrison John Major, weighing in at 8lb 13oz. John Major, a grand-father for the first time, said "I am just so thrilled that he is here and he is safe and absolutely lovely."
26th July 2000 - Gillian Shepherd, who served as Education and Employment Secretary under Major's administration, has released her book about her time in office. She mentioned that "John Major should have seen he was not a normal bloke, he was an exceptional bloke, with exceptional gifts and he could have been a little more immodest."
22nd July 2000 - John Major has made a speech in the House of Commons in response to the debate of the modernisation of Parliament. His speech is here.
12th July 2000 - The Speaker of the House of the Commons, Betty Boothroyd, is to retire from both her role, and from the House of Commons. Boothroyd, who was speaker from 1992, throughout the rest of the time of Major's premiership. She will retire at the end of this Parliamentary session, and a replacement will be selected in October when parliament returns. John Major said, "She has been an outstanding Speaker who has enhanced the reputation of the House of Commons throughout the world, I am very sorry she is retiring".
11th July 2000 - William Hague has back-tracked from his tax guarantee. The BBC reported that John Major had warned that the policy would have been a "a hostage to fortune". Hague had previously promised to cut taxes over the course of the Parliament if he became Prime Minister, whatever the state of the economy.
10th June 2000 - Jonathan Djanogly has been selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Huntingdon. John Major said if his selection, "An awful lot of members of Parliament, an awful lot of people I have worked with for years, are members of different Conservative groups, including Conservative Way Forward. The fact there were a handful of people in that who were very difficult ought not to mar the general position of Conservative Way Forward as an entity. I think some of the comment about that has been frankly very silly."
4th May 2000 - The Conservative Party candidate for London Mayor, Stephen Norris, has come second behind Ken Livingstone. Stephen Norris was a Minister under the John Major Government.
27th April 2000 - Michael Heseltine, who was Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 1997, has announced his resignation from the House of Commons at the next General Election. Heseltine, who was viewed by some as one of the best Prime Ministers Britain never had, had been a Cabinet Minister under Thatcher's Government, before resigning over Westland. He stood in the 1990 leadership contest, and was appointed to John major's Cabinet after Major won the leadership election. Heseltine remained one of Major's most loyal Cabinet members until the General Election defeat in 1997. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, took the unusual step of writing to the Times to praise the Conseravtive politician and his political career. Heseltine is expected to spend more time on his business interests, and on enjoying his retirement.
26th March 2000 - John Major's daughter was married today at All Saints' Church in Somerby, Rutland.
13th March 2000 - John Major has announced that he is stand down from the House of Commons at the next General Election. Major has been an MP since 1979. William Hague, the Conservative Party leader, paid tribute to John Major and his contribution to the Conservative Party. Major's meteroic rise to power started in earnest in 1987 when Thatcher appointed him to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Less than two years later, Major was appointed Foreign Secretary, before being made Chancellor of the Exchequer just 90 days afterwards. After just nine months in the Chancellor's job, John Major became Prime Minister.
11th December 1999 - The race to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor has hit fresh controversy today after Steven Norris has been dropped from the candidate's list. The news follows the resignation of Jeffrey Archer two weeks ago. John Major refused to put his name forward as the Conservative candidate, saying that he had withdrawn from such high profile public positions, despite increasing support from members of the Conservative Party who felt Major would be a popular candidate.
25th November 1999 - Michael Portillo has won the Kensington and Chelsea by-election for the Conservative Party. Michael Portillo lost hie Enfield Southgate seat in the May 1997 General Election, and was formerly John Major's Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Defence Secretary under the last Conservative administration.
24th November 1999 - John Major has won the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year award for his contribution in the House of Commons over the last year. The judges felt that his input and attendance in the House of Commons made him worth the award. Just the day before he had been making comments in the House about the Northern Ireland situation.
15th October 1999 - The Times has reported that John Major's appearance at the Foyles Literary Luncheon attracted more people than previous lunches attended by former Prime Ministers Edward Heath, Alec Douglas-Home and Margaret Thatcher. Major said at the lunch, When I became Prime Minister I could trace my ancestry back as far as my father. Byt the time I had completed the first chapter of my book, I had discovered two half-brothers and a half-sister. In the interests of the family's reputation, I stopped there. Major also added about Robin Cook, He is the only Foreign Secretary in 700 years who has had more trouble at home than he has abroad. He also joked about Cook, Don't mock him, one day his looks will go.
14th October 1999 - William Hague, the Conservative Party Leader is to tour Britain in the back of a truck to promote the Conservative's stance against the single European currency. Tory officials said it was an attempt to replicate the success of John Major's soap-box oratory at the 1992 General Election. The news came just a day after former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine, and former Conservative Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, shared a platform with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Robin Cook and Charles Kennedy to promote the cause of "Britain in Europe".
13th October 1999 - David Mellor, the former National Heritage Cabinet Minister in John Major's Government, has attacked John Major for his criticisms of William Hague. In a letter to the Times he said Major should leave William Hague to set the tone of the party policy without interference.
12th October 1999 - John Major, as well as the former Conservative Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd (Douglas Hurd) and the former Conservative Party Chairman Chris Patten, have attacked William Hague for taking the wrong approach to the European Union. John Major expressed his concern that the anti-European fringe was taking over the Conservative Party.
It is the strongest attack John Major has made on William Hague, and he termed Hague's present European policy as "absurd and crazy". It was also rumoured that John Major may quit the House of Commons before the General Election after his treatment by the present Conservative Party leadership.
11th October 1999 - The Major Years is being shown on BBC1. This is the first of three episodes about John Major's career upto and whilst he was Prime Minister. It features an interview with John Major, along with other key players from the time.
John Major revealed that he did not want much want the job of Foreign Secretary, and was disappointed to have to leave the Treasury so quickly, as it the job which he had always coveted most. Michael Portillo, the former Defence Secretary, criticised John Major for eating in Happy Eater. Portillo was strongly attacked by John Major in his autobiography for writing derogatory remarks about Major in 1995 and only admitting them once his name was leaked. Major added in a later interview that he hoped Michael Portillo's true talents would however be given a chance to succeed further in the future, and that the new Michael Portillo was preferable to the old one.
10th October 1999 - William Hague has denied that he is attempting to air-brush John Major from the history of the Conservative Party. It was thought by many observers at last week's Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool that Major's period as Prime Minister was being re-interpreted by the present leaders of the Conservative Party in a more negative light. It is thought that Hague is seeking to promote the virtues of Thatcherism, and Margaret Thatcher was invited to speak from the Conference Platform for the first time in nearly a decade.
9th October 1999 - John Major's autobiography has been released. It has received praise from Simon Jenkins of the Times who acclaimed it as the best political memoir for thirty years. Unlike Margaret Thatcher, John Major has written all of the text for the book, which criticises former Cabinet Ministers John Redwood and Michael Portillo, as well as the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Major also reveals more details about a long-lost sister who he only found out about after his period as Prime Minister ended.
John Major also launched a retort to Lord Tebbit, who has been seen as a critic of John Major. Lord Tebbit condemned the Conservative Party policy on the EU said Major, despite Tebbit being the man who urged every Conservative MP to support the Single European Act in the mid-1980, widely observed to have passed more powers to the then EC than the Maastricht Treaty signed by Major nearly ten years after.
8th October 1999 - Francis Maude, the Shadow Chancellor, has said that John Major and the discussions over the two books by John Major and Norman Lamont are both history and that the Party has moved away from them.
7th October 1999 - Norman Lamont's book reveals differences in the account of events of Black Wednesday. Lamont's autobiography claims Major was a better Prime Minister than some credit him with, but that his leadership was often too weak and ineffectual. Sir Norman Fowler, one of the most senior Cabinet Ministers in Major's Government has said he is surprised by Lamont's version of events and he found them unlikely.
6th October 1999 - The Editor of the Spectator has argued that William Hague is "handing a trick to Tony Blair" by an almost Stalinist air-brushing out of history of John Major. Boris Johnson, writing in the Telegraph, argued that to remove Major from the history of the Tory Party is simply allowing Tony Blair to gain the credit for the economic successes achieved by Major. William Hague's treatment of Major at the Party Conference has shocked some commentators.
There have been a number of books written about John Major and his Government. Most of these books can be found at Politico's which sells not only new and used political books, but a wide range of other politically related items.
John Major's own auto-biography was released in one volume in October, retailing at 25 pounds. The book was subsequently released in paperback in September 2000 with a new final chapter, retailing at 9.99 pounds. The auto-biography was widely recognised as a fair and open account of his time in Government, with little or no re-writing of history to serve his cause.
In his auto-biography, Major wrote:
"Of course there are regrets. I shall regret always that I found my own authentic voice in politics. I was too conservative, too conventional. Too safe, too often. Too defensive. Too reactive. Later, too often on the back foot. I inherited a sick economy and passed on a sound one. But one abiding regret for me is that, in between, I did not have the resources to put in place the educational and social changes about which I cared to much; I made only a begining, and it was not enough".
Further quotes from the speeches of John Major, and from his auto-biography, can be found elsewhere on this web-site.
A substantial biography of John Major, released just after the 1997 General Election, was written by Anthony Seldon. You can read the conclusion of the Major Government in this book here. Seldon is an academic who has also written other works on the Thatcher and Major years. The book contains a large number of interviews with colleagues and other interested parties, which will not be revealed until 2027.
One of the earlier biographies of John Major, published in 1991, was written by Bruce Anderson, a former journalist at the Sunday Telegraph and television producer. You can read the conclusion of this book here.
Penny Junor has also written a biography of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, the conclusion of the latter book is available here.
Nesta Wyn Ellis wrote a more personal biography of John Major, the conclusion of which is available here.
The Seldon, Anderson, Junor and Ellis books were all written with the co-operation of John Major, and all were published during his period as Prime Minister, other than the Seldon biography, which was released in late 1997.
Books - Anthony Seldon
Below is the conclusion from Seldon's book about John Major. Available from Politico's, ISBN 0-297-81607-1.
history, Major is not a towering figure like Churchill or Gladstone, nor
even a significant new departure such as Attlee, Lloyd George or Mrs Thatcher.
On the other hand, he was not a failure like Balfour or Eden, not a footnote
in the Party's evolution like Bonar Law or Home. If circumstances had been
different, Major might have been a Baldwin, presiding over a new deal between
Party and mass electorate. His place, nevertheless, in a league table (on
which his Government was so keen), and when considering the opportunity
open to a leader in 1990, would be in the second quartile from the top."
Below is the conclusion from Anderson's book about John Major. Available from Politico's, ISBN 1-872180-54-X.
"Without even seeking to do so, he has the power to inspire those around him. When in a post-prandial mood, a surprising number of John Major's Parliamentary collegaues can become quite misty-eyed in their enthusiasm for him."
Books - Penny Junor
Below is the conclusion from Junor's book about John Major. Available from Politico's, ISBN 0-718-3704-3.
"Mrs Thatcher's style suited the brash, greedy 1980's. We were glad of a change for the 1990s. The modest, well-mannered Mr Major felt right, his ideas of a classless society, in which everyone might have the chance to prosper, struck a chord. Once the country is on its feet again, I have no doubt we will come to appreciate his qualities."
Books - Nesta Wyn Ellis
Below is the conclusion from Ellis's book about John Major. Available from Politico's, ISBN 0-7088-5378-1.
"If he is to be the man of the century he needs a decisive majority so that he might devote more energy to international statesmanship. In the history books, that is where he may make his greatest contribution, and for one much underestimated as Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, that would be a fine vindication.
1995 Resignation [and re-election campaign] Speech
I've now been Prime Minister for nearly five years. In that time we've achieved a great deal, but for the last three years I've been opposed by a small minority in our party. During those three years there have been repeated threats of a leadership election. In each year, they have turned out to be phoney threats. Now the same thing again is happening in 1995.
I believe this is in no one's interest that this continues right though until November. It undermines the Government and it damages the Conservative Party. I am not prepared to see this party I care for laid out on the rack like this any longer.
To remove this uncertainty I have this afternoon tendered my resignation as leader of the Conservative Party to Sir Marcus Fox, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, and requested him to set the machinery in motion for an election of a successor.
I have confirmed to Sir Marcus that I shall be a candidate in that election. If I win, I shall continue as Prime Minister and lead the party into and through the next election.
Should I be defeated, which I do not expect, I shall resign as Prime Minister and offer my successor my full support.
The Conservative Party must makes its choice. Everyleader is leader only with the support of his party. That is true of me as well.
That is why I am no longer prepared to tolerate the present situation. In short, it is time to put up or shut up. I have nothing more to say this afternoon. Thank you very much.
The text of Major's speech on the steps of Downing Street on May 2nd 1997.
The economy is booming, interest rates are low and inflation is low and unemployment is falling.
The growth pattern is well set, the health service is expanding, the education service is improving and the crime statistics are falling.
All of those I think are benevolent improvements in the interests of all of the people of this country. I believe the incoming government ... to whom I repeat my warm congratulations upon their success ... the incoming government will inherit the most benevolent set of economic statistics of any incoming govern ment since before the First World War.
I have been a Member of Parliament for 18 years. I have been a member of the Government for 14 years, of the Cabinet for ten years and Prime Minister since 1990. When the curtain falls it is time to get off the stage and that is what I propose to do.
I shall, therefore, advise my parliamentary colleagues that it would be appropriate for them to consider the selection of a new leader of the Conservative Party to lead the party through Opposition through the years that lie immediately ahead.[...]
Gulf War '91 Statement
"Since before dawn today, Britain's forces have been in action in the Gulf. Their skill and courage has already been tested. Tonight I want to explain you why they are there, and what this conflict is about.
Our troops are part of an international force. It is drawn from many countries and it is acting under the authority of the United Nations, and its purpose is to end Saddam Hussein's ruthless occupation of Kuwait. He invaded without justification. His army has conducted itself without mercy. If such brutality and aggression are rewarded with success, then we are all at risk. If you appease a bully, you pay for it later, and you often pay more dearly.
We did not want a conflict: I need hardly tell you that. We have tried hard to avoid it. We have given Saddam Hussein every opportunity to withdraw. Time and again, the United Nations has called upon him to leave Kuwait. In the patient diplomacy of the past five months, leader from around the world have sought peace and then soughted again.
But Saddam Hussein has chosen war. He has rejected every attempt to reach a peaceful solution. He has rebuffed even the Secretary General of the United Nations. At the United Nations, the world agreed that Iraq must withdraw, or be driven out of Kuwait. We applied sanctions to make that point clear. We refused to trade with Iraq. Those sanctions made life harder for Saddam's people, but he was not a man to be influenced by their suffering.
Then the world set him a deadline. 'Free Kuwait', we said, 'or we will have to free it from you.'
But Saddam Hussein has rejected all appeals. He has defied the United Nations. He has increased his force in Kuwait. He has tortured and killed those who opposed him. He has tried to wipe Kuwait off the very map of the Middle East.
For our part, we, the rest of the world have acted with enormous restraint. Time and again we warned him, and we offered him this promise: If he would withdraw his invading army frm Kuwait and return them to Iraq, he would not be attacked. Saddam has chosen instead to defy the world. The deadline passed on January 15th, and still, he refused to withdraw. That is why we, and our partners are now facing up to our responsibility: It is to compel him to obey the United Nations. We could not delay any longer. Delay would have increased the risk to our troops out there, in the Gulf. Delay would have made their task more difficult, and delay would have extended the terrible sufferings of the people of Kuwait.
Our aims are clear. They have been set out for all to see by the United Nations Security Council. First, we must get Iraq out of Kuwait. Right out of Kuwait. Second, we must resore Kuwait's legitimate government. And third, we must uphold the authority of the United Nations. We and our allies want nothing more than that. We are not seeking to dismember Iraq. We have no intention of imposing our choice of Government on Iraq. We are simply doing what the United Nations said should be done. We are acting with the authority of the United Nations, and on behalf of the whole world.
I will not offer you rash promises about how quickly this can be done. The operation on which we have embarked involves danger, and sacrifice. But I am confident that it will succeed, and we know it is a battle which has to be fought.
On Tuesday, members of Parliament gave the Government their overwhelming support, one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in history supported action to enforce the decisions of the United Nations. It is a just cause, and it is right, that we in Britain should play our part. I take no pleasure in this conflict. But I do know that what we are doing is right. Our nation has been through many trials in the past, but when, as now, right and justice have been on our side, we have prevailed. The military operation must go on. On, until the decisions of the United Nations are enforced.
Then we can start searching again, and searching hard for lasting solutions to the problems of the Earth. We must try to work out security arrangements for the future, so that these terrible events are never repeated. And we shall, I promise you, bring our own forces back home just as soon as it is safe to do so. It is to those men and women, serving our country in the Middle East that my thoughts go out most tonight. And to all of their families here, to you, I know this is not a distant threat, it is a close and ever present anxiety.
I was priviledged to meet many of our service men and women in the Gulf last week. Their professionalism is outstanding, their confidence impressive, and their courage undoubted. You can be proud of them, very proud. Each one of them has Britain's wholehearted support, and the prayers of all of us for their safe return home. And our prayers are also for you, their families, who carry so much of the burden on Saddam Hussein's war. We are no less proud of you.
Prime Minister John Major 1990-1997 -- selected cabinet appointments.
Norman Lamont 1990-1993Home Secretary
Kenneth Clarke 1993-1997
Kenneth Baker 1990-1992Foreign Secretary
Kenneth Clarke 1992-1993
Michael Howard 1993-1997
Douglas Hurd 1990-1995Lord Chancellor
Malcolm Rifkind 1995-1997
Lord Mackay 1990-1997Health
William Waldegrave 1990-1992Energy
Virginia Bottomley 1992-1995
Stephen Dorrell 1995-1997
John Wakeham 1990-1992Education
Department Closed 1992
Kenneth Clarke 1990-1992Employment [...] Department Closed 1995
John Patten 1992-1995
Gillian Shephard 1995-1997
Trade and Industry
Peter Lilley 1990-1992Northern Ireland
Michael Heseltine 1992-1995
Ian Lang 1995-1997
Peter Brooke 1990-1992National Heritage [...] Created in 1992
Patrick Mayhew 1992-1997
John Major's Staff 1990-1997
Principal Private Secretary
Chief Press Secretary
Head of Policy Unit
Parliamentary Private Secretary
But I believe also in a society in which government doesn't try to take responsibility away from people. Politicians must never make the mistake of thinking the state always knows best, or that it is entitled to the lion's share of people's money I believe in low taxes not just because they ignite enterprise - the spark of economic growth - but because they put power and choice where it belongs: in your hands.
So when you compare what the politicians are saying in this election, ask yourself these questions. Whom do you trust to take responsibility for Britain's defence; to keep us safe and strengthen our influence for good? And who, at the same time, wants to give you the opportunity to do your best for yourself and your family?
Who will give you the power to choose - to say for yourself what you want? And who will give you the personal prosperity that comes from low taxes - from your own savings, your own pension, your own home? Who will let you build up your own stake in Britain's success - and pass it on to your children?
Only Conservatives can truly claim
to be the party of opportunity; choice; ownership and responsibility. Socialists
like to keep people under the government's thumb. Conservatives want to
give them independence. But we also want to put government at your service,
giving you what you've paid for - good public services, responsible to
We have made quite a start, under the seal of the Citizen's Charter People in schools, hospitals, public offices of all kinds are rising to the challenge. I knew they would. They just needed encouragement, incentive and a system that is outward-looking too.
It is all part of a revolution in quality in Britain. British goods are once more winning in the toughest markets abroad. There is new vigour in the businesses liberated from state ownership; better management and better industrial relations. These are the firm foundations of economic recovery
We are raising the quality of our
education and training. We are raising the standard of our housing, as
more people own and improve their own homes. We are concerned for the quality
of our environment. And in government, we are leading a drive for quality
throughout our public services.
[-- Manifesto is fully internationalist, for engagement in many arenas.]
In future our Forces will be smaller, but better equipped. Our Services deserve the excellent pay and conditions which we have secured for them and will maintain. [New weapons systems and platforms]
* We will complete
the deployment of the next generation of Britain's minimum nuclear deterrent.
We will order and complete the fourth Trident submarine.
The Maastricht Treaty was a success both for Britain and for the rest of Europe. British proposals helped to shape the key provisions of the Treaty including those strengthening the enforcement of Community law defence, subsidiarity and law and order. But Britain refused to accept the damaging Social Chapter proposed by other Europeans, and it was excluded from the Maastricht treaty
... reform the Common Agricultural
... control over Community spending
In the second half of 1992 Britain will take the Chair of the Council of Ministers. ...
[expansion of EU with EFTA members.]
... single market ...
... safeguard the abatement negotiated by Mrs Thatcher which has so far brought some £12,000 million in budget rebates to Britain.
Since 1979, our inflation rate has averaged 7½ per cent. Now it is only just over 4 per cent - below the average for the European Community In the 1960s and 1970s, Britain had the slowest growth rate in the European Community. But in the 1980s, we grew faster than either France or Germany Industrial disputes became rare events. And in 1990, a Conservative Government joined the ERM.
Penal taxes have been abolished. A man on average earnings, with a wife and two children, has an income today which after tax and inflation is 39 per cent higher than it was in Labour's last year. That great advance in the standard of living is at risk in this election.
Since the war, living standards have always risen faster under Conservative Governments than under Labour. Now we are pledged to cut tax rates again - and have made a start on the road to 20p Income Tax.
In due course, we will move to the
narrow bands of the ERM. [Euro decision separately made by Parliament.]
During the past 13 years we have cut, simplified or abolished a whole range of direct taxes.
* We have cut
the basic rate of Income Tax from 33p to 25p, and the top rate from 83p
* We have now announced a new starting Income Tax rate of 20p.
* We have raised the basic single person's tax allowance by 27 per cent more than would be needed to keep pace with inflation.
* We have simplified and reduced the burden of taxation on capital.
* We have cut Corporation Tax from 52 per cent to 33 per cent (and from 42 per cent to 25 per cent for small companies).
* We have reduced the burden of National Insurance on low earners.
* We have introduced independent taxation of husbands and wives, giving married women full eligibility for tax allowances.
* We have introduced new tax incentives for savings.
* We have abolished several taxes completely including the surcharge on income from savings, the National Insurance Surcharge, Development Land Tax, and Capital Transfer Tax.
Since 1979, wealth has been spread more widely through the community Home ownership, share ownership and the build-up of personal pensions have all contributed. Over two-thirds of people live in homes that they own, 10 million people own shares, 6 million of them in newly-privatised industries. About 2.5 million have benefited from tax incentives to encourage employee share schemes. And over 4½ million people are now building up their own personal pensions.
We have returned to private enterprise two-thirds of the companies once owned by the state: 46 businesses employing about 900,000 people. This programme has been the model for governments across the whole world.
The work of liberalising markets which were once monopolised goes on. In 1984 we privatised British Telecom but only Mercury was given a licence to carry services over fixed links. In 1991 we decided to end this duopoly The UK now has one of the most open and dynamic telecommunications markets in the world.
* British Coal
will be returned to the private sector. So will local authority bus companies.
We will encourage local authorities to sell their airports. We will end
British Rail's monopoly. We will sell certain rail services and franchise
others. These proposals are set out later in this Manifesto.
* The Ports Act 1991 has paved the way for the privatisation of the Trust Ports by competitive tender. Tees and Hartlepool, Tilbury, Medway, Forth and Clyde have already been privatised.
* We are privatising Northern Ireland Electricity and will privatise the Northern Ireland water and sewage services. We will look for ways of bringing private sector skills into the management of Northern Ireland Railways.
* We will bring private sector enterprise into the public services by encouraging contracting out and competitive tendering throughout government.
* We will require all government departments to report annually on their plans for market-testing, and progress in achieving it, in their own services and in those of their associated agencies.
* We will maintain our programme of compulsory competitive tendering of local authority services. We will ensure that unfair terms are excluded and will discourage investment to protect in- house services when better, more cost effective services are available through the private sector.
* We will ensure that competitive tendering is extended to white collar local authority services, such as those offered by lawyers, accountants, architects and surveyors.
* We will tackle all anti-competitive and restrictive practices with vigour. We will introduce new legislation giving stronger powers to deal with cartels.
# The compliance costs of new UK and EC regulations must be assessed properly. Existing regulations which are outmoded and burdensome must be simplified or removed. We will give priority to the work of the DTI Deregulation Unit in these areas.
# We will examine ways in which the uniform scope of regulation could be eased to safeguard traditional local products or practices.
# We will continue to encourage competition in energy markets. We will progressively reduce British Gas' monopoly of the retail gas market, to give small users the same rights as big firms.
# We will privatise British Coal in a way that enables employees to enjoy a stake in the industry.
# We will increase our support for British Coal Enterprise which promotes economic regeneration in areas affected by the closure of mines, and has successfully assisted 76,000 people in finding new jobs.
The Citizen's Charter is the most far-reaching programme ever devised to improve quality in public services. It addresses the needs of those who use public services, extends people's rights, requires services to set clear standards - and to tell the public how far those standards are met.
The Citizen's Charter:
* widens popular
* helps people to exercise that choice in a properly informed way;
* expects all public services to put the customer first;
* promotes the challenge of competition within the public sector;
* requires clear performance standards to be set and for services to be measured against them;
* insists on a proper response to complaints and on action to set right the problems behind them.
The next Conservative Government will carry the Charter still further. There will be more information about standards and performance; clear standards set within public services which are still shrouded in mystery; more choice built into public services and proper complaints procedures introduced. Many of these are outlined later in the Manifesto under Education, Health, Local Government and Transport. Here are a few examples from the programme for the next two years:
* The Audit Commission
will be able to publish league tables of performance including each local
council and health authority so that people can compare the quality of
* We will ensure that inspection reports are published and widely available. All councils will have to respond in public to criticism from auditors.
* We will introduce a new 'Charterline' that people with questions or problems with a public service will be able to ring.
* We will require British Rail to tighten its targets for reliability and punctuality on all lines, and report monthly to passengers on how it is doing. London Underground will publish its own Charter.
* We will expect Post Offices and Job Centres to set out standards of service and levels of achievement.
* A new Charter Mark award will give recognition to those parts of the public service that best meet Charter standards.
* British Rail and London Underground are introducing compensation systems for travellers.
* We will review the powers of the Local Government Ombudsman to ensure that findings of maladministration are properly dealt with by all local authorities. We will consult on a new Lay Adjudicators scheme to help the public resolve difficulties and disputes.
We will extend competition and accountability
in public services. [inspectorates, tendering, performance pay
In 1981 we introduced private competition for deliveries costing over £1. This led to the rapid growth of the private courier industry with substantial benefits to business users
WHITEHALL & WESTMINSTER
Whitehall must move with the times. It is over a decade since the last major restructuring of the departments of government. Since then:
* Two-thirds of
the state industrial sector has been privatised, transferring about 900,000
jobs to the private sector.
* Government has reduced the burden of regulation and the need for central bureaucracy
* Civil Service manpower has been reduced by almost a quarter.
* Many of the functions of government have been devolved from Whitehall.
* The Citizen's Charter programme is bringing new quality to public services.
* We will give a Cabinet Minister responsibility for the Citizen's Charter programme and reforming the Civil Service, taking charge of the Citizen's Charter Unit, Efficiency Unit, the programme for creating Agencies and the Public Competition and Purchasing Unit. This will make it easier to raise quality and efficiency in government and see that contracting-out and market-testing are energetically pursued.
* We intend to create a new department, under a Cabinet Minister, with responsibility for broadcasting, arts, sport, tourism, the national heritage and the film industry. This department will aim to encourage private sector enterprise in all these fields. The National Lottery and the Millennium Fund (detailed later in this Manifesto) will also bring new responsibilities to government in these areas.
* We will transfer the core responsibilities of the Department of Energy to the Department of Trade and Industry and responsibilities for energy efficiency to the Department of the Environment, ending the need for a separate department
* Small businesses are the seedcorn of our future prosperity We believe the Department of Trade and Industry should take over responsibility for them. We also want to strengthen the links between the DTI and the highly successful Training and Enterprise Councils.
* Responsibility for overseeing all financial services will be brought together in the Treasury, in line with the practice adopted in most other advanced countries.
* New programmes for regenerating our inner cities are outlined in this Manifesto. Responsibilities will be brought together in the Department of the Environment.
* We are determined to ensure that women in the work-force realise their full potential. We will transfer from the Home Office to the Department of Employment the lead responsibility for co-ordinating government policy on issues of particular concern to women.
Government has traditionally been far too reluctant to provide information. This secrecy extends from the processes of Cabinet Government to schools which refuse to release exam results. Under the Citizen's Charter, a great deal more information is now being made available on the services provided by government.
We have also:
* replaced the
catch-all provisions of the 1911 Official Secrets Act with narrower offences
depending on specific tests of the harm likely to be caused by disclosure,
while giving special protection to vital information relating to our national
* introduced rights to check certain personal records held on computer, and supported new rights of access to a range of government records;
* committed ourselves to a public right of access to information about the environment, including water supply, air quality dumping at sea and radioactive substances;
* made available more reports on matters of public concern such as food safety and industrial risks.
We intend to carry forward this move towards greater openness.
* We will review
the 80 or so statutory restrictions which exist on the disclosure of information
- retaining only those needed to protect privacy and essential confidentiality.
* We will seek to provide greater access to personal records held by government.
* We will be less secretive about the workings of government. For example, when the Committees of the Cabinet are reconstituted after the election we will, for the first time, set out their names and membership. We will update and - for the first time - publish the guidance for Ministers on procedure.
* We will complete the introduction of the National Curriculum offering 10 subjects at a nationally-defined standard - English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Technology, Art, Music, PE and, in secondary schools, a foreign language.
* Regular and straightforward tests will be in place for all 7, 11 and 14 year-olds by 1994.
* GCSE at age 16 will be integrated into the National Curriculum, with a new A+ grade to test the most able. The majority of marks will come from a written exam.
* We will continue to encourage the creation of nursery places. For the first time, over 50 per cent of three and four year olds have places either in nursery or primary schools.
* Full information will be published annually about the performance of all local schools in each area.
* Independent inspection of schools will provide parents with straightforward reports on their child's school, together with an action plan from governors to remedy any weaknesses.
* Popular schools which are over subscribed will he given the resources to expand.
* We will continue to expand the number of students in higher education. We are abolishing the artificial 'binary line' between universities and polytechnics.
* We are putting in place new mechanisms to ensure that academic standards are maintained in higher education.
* We will continue to provide generous support for students and to expand our student loans commitment.
* We will require employers to give everyone who works for them for more than eight hours a week a clear 'written statement of their terms and conditions of employment.
* We will make automatic deduction of union membership dues without 'written authorisation unlawful.
* We will take measures to give individuals greater freedom in choosing a union.
* We will legislate to require that all pre- strike ballots are postal and subject to independent scrutiny, and that at least seven days' notice of a strike is given after a ballot.
* People who use public services will have the right to restrain the disruption of those services by unlawful industrial action.
EC Directive on Pregnant Workers. This addition to our already extensive legal provision will give a right to at least 14 weeks' maternity leave and protection against dismissal on grounds of pregnancy.
* We are continuing to increase police numbers. There will be 1,000 extra police officers this year.
* We will continue to give the police the support and resources they need to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.
* We will be seeking the nation-wide introduction of Community Policing.
* We will encourage civilianisation as a means of freeing police officers for operational duties.
* We will sustain our massive prison reform and building programme.
* A reconstruction programme will end the degrading need for 'slopping out' by the end of 1994.
* We will establish the Prison Service as a separate agency, whose director will have the clear responsibility for day-to day operations. The Home Secretary will remain ministerially accountable to Parliament for prison policy.
* We will increase the use of private sector management skills.
THE THREAT OF TERRORISM
Tragic and dangerous events remind us only too frequently of the need for the special measures provided by the Prevention of Terrorism Act. While Labour proposes to weaken or dismantle them, we know that for the safety of our citizens they must be continued, and the police effort against terrorism must be reinforced.
We have set up in New Scotland Yard arrangements to co-ordinate the activities of all our police forces in the fight against terrorism.
* We will provide
the necessary measures and resources to combat terrorism, whether it comes
from the IRA or other evil groups who seek to undermine our democracy.
* We will, year by year, increase the level of real resources committed to the NHS. Savings made through greater efficiency will be ploughed back into the Service.
* We will develop a comprehensive research and development strategy for the NHS.
* We will continue to develop the NHS Trust movement which places responsibility for managing hospitals and other services with local teams who are closest to patients.
* We will continue to encourage the involvement of doctors and other medical staff in the management of services.
THE PATIENT'S CHARTER
* Binding guarantees will be set locally for in-patient waiting times, starting with the operations where waiting causes most distress. To ensure that progress on waiting times continues, we intend that from 31 March 1993, no one should have to wait more than 18 months for a hip or knee replacement, or a cataract operation. We are sure that, as now, many hospitals will be able to do better than this.
* We will move to a system under which a named nurse or midwife will be responsible for your care while you are in hospital.
* We will set specific targets for out patient waiting times.
* We will make it easier for patients to find out what services are available from the NHS via a new national NHS information service.
* We will maintain mortgage tax relief.
* We will continue 'Right to Buy' discounts, and ensure that local authorities respond reasonably and rapidly to applications.
* We will introduce a new nation-wide 'Rents to Mortgages' scheme, enabling council tenants to take a part-share in their home, gradually stepping up to full ownership.
* We will put more of the Housing Corporation's £2,000 million budget into Do-It-Yourself shared ownership. This will enable first time buyers to choose a home and buy a share of it - usually 50 per cent - with a housing association paying rent on the rest until they wish to increase their stake in the property.
* We will introduce 'Commonhold' legislation, giving residential leaseholders living in blocks of flats the right to acquire the freehold of their block at the market rate.
In the next Parliament:
* By franchising,
we will give the private sector the fullest opportunity to operate existing
passenger railway services.
* Required standards of punctuality, reliability and quality of service will be specified by franchises; subsidy will continue to be provided where necessary; arrangements to sustain the current national network of services will be maintained; and through-ticketing will be required.
* A new Rail Regulator - who will ensure that all companies have fair access to the track - will award the franchises and make sure that the franchisees honour the terms of the contract.
We will improve road transport by:
* Investing £6,300
million in our trunk road and motorway network over the next three years,
concentrating particularly on bypasses. Some 40 new ones will be opened
by 1993 on trunk roads alone.
* Increasing penalties for those convicted of drink driving.
* Installing cameras at dangerous road junctions to film those who drive through red traffic lights.
* Encouraging local councils, assisted by a special budget we have set aside, to introduce pedestrian priority areas and cycle lanes.
* Privatising the remaining 39 local authority bus companies.
* Deregulating buses in London and privatising the London Buses subsidiaries. A new London Bus Executive will be responsible for bus- stops, stands and stations and for contracting out socially necessary services. The concessionary fares scheme in London will continue.
[LONDON RAIL SERVICES]
* We will seek to privatise the Docklands Light Railway during the lifetime of the next Parliament.
* The new Jubilee Line is being extended to Docklands and South East London and will be followed by the East-West Crossrail, linking Paddington to Liverpool Street. The Docklands Light Railway is being extended at an eventual cost of £800 million.
* London Underground's Charter will set out tougher new standards and what it will do to compensate passengers should it fail to meet those standards.
* We therefore propose to introduce a National Lottery from 1994, which would help provide funds for a number of good causes in the artistic, sporting, heritage and charitable fields - and from which some funds would be put aside for a Millennium Fund.
We have upheld our pledge that Northern
Ireland will remain an integral part of the United Kingdom in accordance
with the democratically expressed wishes of the majority of the people
who live there. It is a pledge that only the Conservative and Unionist
Party can give.
Our overriding objective in Northern Ireland is to eliminate the evil of terrorism. This requires progress in four areas: security, economic, social and political.
# We will build on the close security co operation that has been established with the Republic of Ireland under the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
# We will continue to work strenuously for a political agreement which is acceptable to all the parties involved in the talks which the Secretary of State has had during the past year with the main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland.