1995 Conservative Party leadership election

The 1995 Conservative Party leadership election was initiated when the incumbent leader and Prime Minister, John Major, resigned as leader on 22 June 1995, in order to face his critics within the party. On 4 July 1995, he was re-elected, beating the only other candidate, the former Secretary of State for Wales, John Redwood.

1995 Conservative Party leadership election
 1990 4 July 1995 (1995-07-04) 1997 
 
Candidate John Major John Redwood
Popular vote 218 89
Percentage 66.3% 27.1%

Leader before election

John Major

Elected Leader

John Major

For some years the Conservative Party had been deeply divided on the issue of the European Union and there had been much speculation each year that Major would be challenged for the leadership during the annual re-election of the leader each November. Many both within and outside the party believed that the constant speculation was highly damaging and so Major took the dramatic step to force an early contest. He announced his decision in a speech in the garden of 10 Downing Street, challenging his party opponents to "put up or shut up".[1]

The Conservative government was also proving unpopular with the British public at the time, trailing the Labour Party in opinion polls and having suffered heavy losses in local elections for three successive years, as well as a poor performance in the previous year's European elections.