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John Major (1990-7) - Prime Minister - Parliament

John Major was born in 1943 and educated at his local grammar school and worked for a Standard Chartered Bank before embarking on a career in politics. He held small posts under the Conservative government before becoming the foreign secretary in 1989 and a hundred days later, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. After Margaret Thatcher ran into trouble as head of the Conservative Party and resigned, Major became Prime Minister with her support.

Almost immediately he had to contend with the Kuwait Crisis and was victorious in the Allied war against Iraq and Saddam Hussain. He also abolished the poll tax which had caused so much controversy and widespread unrest and negotiated a Treaty on European Union at Maastricht. Major’s political style of governing was visibly different to Thatcher’s, he was less forceful and considered by many to be a breath of fresh air to the otherwise stale British political system. The lowest point of his reign came in 1992 with the Sterling crisis when the pound was forced to leave the ERM.

By the end of his term the economy was steadily emerging from recession and eventually the Conservatives were defeated in the 1997 General Election by Tony Blair and his Labour Party.
"Fifty years on from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county [cricket] grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and old maids bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist"

"You can't influence Europe's future from the terraces. You have to be on the pitch and playing hard"

Major during a Cabinet meeting after a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street:
"Gentlemen, I think we had better start again, somewhere else".

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