United Kingdom general election, 1992

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1992 UK Election Results.png

John Major

John Major

The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil Kinnock to be consistently, if narrowly, ahead.

John Major had won the leadership election in November 1990 succeeding the outgoing PM Margaret Thatcher. During his term leading up to the 1992 elections he oversaw the British involvement in the Gulf War, introduced legislation to replace the unpopular Community Charge with Council Tax, and signed the Maastricht treaty. The UK had gone into recession around the time of Major's appointment, along with most of the other industrialised nations. John Major announced the date of the election on 11 March shortly after Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont had delivered the Budget. It was one of the most dramatic elections in the UK since the end of the Second World War, after the Conservative Party defeated the initial favourites, the Labour Party.[1]

The BBC's live, television broadcast of the election results were presented by David Dimbleby and Peter Snow, with John Cole.[2]



Labour had been ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls since as long ago as 1989. As 1992 dawned, the recession deepened and the election loomed, most opinion polls suggested that Labour were still favourites to win the election, although the lead of the polls had changed from Tory to Labour on several occasions since the end of 1990. However, on Election Day, Rupert Murdoch controlled The Sun newspaper ran a front page headline which urged "the last person to leave Britain" to "turn out the lights" if Labour won the election.[3] This headline was widely regarded as the saviour of the Conservative government, and The Sun famously ran a front page headline the next day - It's The Sun Wot Won It - to claim that it had won the election for the Conservatives.[4]

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