Major, John

John Roy Major

b. 29 Mar 1943, Carshalton, Surrey

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury [1]
Term: 28 Nov 1990 - 2 May 1997
Chronology: 28 Nov 1990, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [2][3]
30 Nov 1990, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service before the Queen in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [4]
2 May 1997, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (accepted), audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [5]
Names/titles: Christened: John Roy; birth certificate: John
  Sir John Major (from 23 Apr 2005, Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter) [6]
Biography:

Born in the family of theatrical artists and circus performers touring the country; attended Cheam Common Primary School and Rutlish Grammar School, Wimbledon (1954-1959); left school without qualifications to work as a clerk in an insurance brokerage firm; joined the Young Conservatives in Brixton; briefly worked as a laborer at David's Rural Industries; in the early 1960's took short-term laboring jobs; after a short time at the London Electricity Board, he joined the District Bank (1964) and, subsequently, Standard Bank, receiving his Banking Diploma by correspondence course (1966); was seriously wounded in a car incident while on business trip to Nigeria (1967); was elected to Lambeth Borough Council (1968-1971), representing Ferndale Ward; continued to work for Standard Bank which merged with Chartered Bank (1970) to become Standard Chartered; held a number of senior positions in the Standard Chartered Bank; unsuccessfully contested St. Pancras North in both General Elections of 1974; was returned to Parliament as Conservative MP for Huntingdonshire (1979-1983); was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Home Office Ministers of State (1981-1983); appointed Assistant Government Whip (1983-1984) in the administration of Margaret Thatcher; was re-elected to Parliament for the reconstituted constituency Huntingdon (1983-2001); promoted to Government Whip (1984-1985), officially serving as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1984-1985); after a brief term as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (2 Sep 1985 - 10 Sep 1986), he was made Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security (10 Sep 1986 - 13 Jun 1987); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (13 Jun 1987); entered the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (13 Jun 1987 - 26 Jul 1989); succeeded Sir Geoffrey Howe as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (26 Jul 1989 - 27 Oct 1989); was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer (27 Oct 1989 - 30 Nov 1990); despite his disagreements with Thatcher over European policy, he was supported by the outgoing Prime Minister in his bid for leadership of the Conservative Party; entered the second round of the election following Thatcher's withdrawal and was finally elected Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (27 Nov 1990 - 19 Jun 1997); appointed Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (28 Nov 1990 - 2 May 1997); although his appointment coincided with a long economic recession (1990-1993), the electorate reaffirmed him as Prime Minister at the General Election (9 Apr 1992: Conservative 336, Labour 271, Liberal Democrats 20, Ulster Unionists 9, Social Democratic and Labour 4, Green/Plaid Cymru Alliance 4, Democratic Unionist 3, Scottish National Party 3, others 1); formed a second administration which survived sterling dropping out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (1992) and subsequent Tory party divisions over the Maastricht Treaty and the European Union; resigned as party leader (22 Jun 1995) to reassert his authority by re-election; defeated John Redwood in the first round (4 Jul 1995) and retained his post; Britain's recovery from recession did not help Conservatives who suffered substantial defeat in the 1997 General Election; resigned as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (2 May 1997). Biography source: [7][8]


[1] In accordance with The Minister for the Civil Service Order 1968 (SI 1968/1656), the Prime Minister is also Minister for the Civil Service (effective 1 Nov 1968).
[2] The Times, No. 63,876, Thursday November 29 1990, p. 20: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE November 28: <...> The Queen received in audience the Right Hon John Major, MP and requested him to form a new Administration. The Right Hon John Major, MP accepted Her Majesty's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."
[3] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (prior to appointment as First Lord of the Treasury) by Letters Patent under the Great Seal is dated 21 Sep 1989, announced by the Crown Office 21 Sep 1989, and gazetted 27 Sep 1989 (The London Gazette, No. 51886, Wednesday, 27th September 1989, p. 11045).
[4] The Times, No. 63,878, Saturday December 1 1990, p. 18: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE November 30: The Queen held a Council at 9.45 a.m. <...> At the Council the Right Hon. John Major M.P. was sworn First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service and kissed hands on appointment."
[5] The Times, No. 65,880, Saturday May 3 1997, p. 22: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE May 2: The Rt Hon John Major had an audience of The Queen and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept."
[6] The London Gazette, No. 57622, Monday, 25 April 2005, p. 5363.
[7] "Facts About the British Prime Ministers: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information", ed. by Dermot Englefield, Janet Seaton, Isobel White (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1995).
[8] "Autobiography", by John Major (London: Harper Collins, 1999).
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:21:35