The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Comments after Winning the Conservative Party Leadership Election – 4 July 1995

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments following his victory in the Conservative Party leadership election, made on 4th July 1995.


Some days ago, when I called the leadership election, I did so in the knowledge that it would very likely be an election that was contested. It was contested and contested by a heavyweight candidate. We have now seen the verdict of the Parliamentary Party, a very clear cut decision, a decision in which I have received the largest share of votes that any Conservative leadership candidate has received in any seriously contested election. I believe that has put to rest any question, and any speculation, about the leadership of the Conservative Party up to and beyond the next General Election.

I should like to thank all those under Robert Cranborne who worked so hard in my campaign over the last few days and to offer a special vote of thanks to those tens of thousands of silent people in the constituencies up and down the country who made clear their belief, by a truly overwhelming majority, that they believed that the policies we were pursuing were going in the right direction and that they wished me to continue in Downing Street as Prime Minister. I am very grateful to them for the support that they have given me over this period.

We have had this election. I think it has aired matters of important policy interests for all of us. But the election is now over. The message that I would give to every Conservative, whether he is a Member of Parliament, a party member or someone who simply shares our philosophy and supports us in the country, is that the time for division is over. We have made our choice, it is a clear-cut choice I believe beyond any doubt whatsoever. The responsibility we have, the current responsibility and the historic responsibility as well, is to carry our case to the electorate so they can judge the Conservative Party for what they are, and not what they are sometimes represented as being by people who are not themselves members of the Conservative Party.

Let me just say one thing in conclusion. This election has been decided by Members of Parliament in Westminster, not commentators outside Westminster with their own particular view. I believe that is the right democratic way to determine these elections.

I have one final thing to say to you. This matter is now concluded. I shall now return to Downing Street and begin this evening to reconstruct the Government for announcements that you might expect tomorrow.

Thank you very much.