1990 Conservative Party leadership election

The 1990 Conservative Party leadership election in the United Kingdom took place on 20 November 1990 following the decision of Michael Heseltine, former Defence and Environment Secretary, to challenge Margaret Thatcher, the incumbent Prime Minister, for leadership of the Conservative Party.

1990 Conservative Party leadership election
 1989 20–27 November 1990 (1990-11-20 1990-11-27) 1995 
Candidate John Major Michael Heseltine
First ballot Did not enter 152 (40.9%)
Second ballot 185 (49.7%) 131 (35.2%)
Third ballot Unopposed Withdrew

Candidate Douglas Hurd Margaret Thatcher
First ballot Did not enter 204 (54.8%)
Second ballot 56 (15.1%) Withdrew
Third ballot Withdrew Withdrew

Leader before election

Margaret Thatcher

Elected Leader

John Major

Thatcher failed to win outright on the first ballot, and was persuaded to withdraw from the second round of voting. She announced her resignation on 22 November 1990, ending more than 15 years as Conservative leader and 11 years as Prime Minister.