TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION : PAST CONTESTS : Thatcher's Fatal Mistake

By Rentoul, John | The Independent (London, England), June 23, 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION : PAST CONTESTS : Thatcher's Fatal Mistake


Rentoul, John, The Independent (London, England)


The complicated rules of Conservative leadership contests caught Margaret Thatcher out in 1990. The election was triggered by Michael Heseltine's candidacy - he was nominated by Sir Neil Macfarlane, who retired at the 1992 election, and Sir Peter Tapsell, MP for Lindsey East.

In the first ballot, she cleared one hurdle - she won the votes of a majority of Tory MPs - but failed to clear the second hurdle, the requirement to beat Michael Heseltine by 56 votes. Required to win 187 votes, she won 204, but Mr Heseltine was 52 votes behind on 152, with 16 abstentions.

She was just four votes short of outright victory - if only two Heseltine supporters had been persuaded to vote for her, she would have held on. She had decided to go to Paris for a European summit meeting, a decision widely seen as a mistake, and came down the steps of the British Embassy in front of the cameras to insist that she would fight on in the second round.

After famously repeating "I fight on, I fight to win" when she returned to Downing Street, she withdrew from the contest two days later, allowing members of the Cabinet to enter the race.

For the second ballot, John Major and Douglas Hurd joined the contest.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION : PAST CONTESTS : Thatcher's Fatal Mistake
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?