First Major ministry

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First Major ministry
1990–1992
Major PM full.jpg
Major (1996)
Date formed 28 November 1990 (1990-11-28)
Date dissolved 10 April 1992 (1992-04-10)
People and organisations
Head of state Elizabeth II
Head of government John Major
Head of government's history 1990–1997
Deputy head of government [note 1]
Total no. of ministers 108 appointments
Member party Conservative Party
Status in legislature Majority
Opposition cabinet Kinnock Shadow Cabinet
Opposition party Labour Party
Opposition leader Neil Kinnock
History
Outgoing election 1992 general election
Legislature term(s) 50th UK Parliament
Predecessor Third Thatcher ministry
Successor Second Major ministry

John Major formed the first Major ministry upon the resignation of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990, after being invited by Queen Elizabeth II to lead the next government.

Formation

The resignation of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister came on 22 November 1990, more than 11 years after she had first been elected. Former Cabinet minister Michael Heseltine had challenged her leadership earlier in November and although she fared better than him in the leadership contest, she was unable to gain an outright win and handed in her resignation, paving the way for a new Conservative leader more likely to win the next general election which was due within 18 months.

The announcement of the Community Charge (often referred to as the Poll Tax) during 1989 and the onset of a recession shortly before Thatcher's resignation had seen Tory support plunge in the opinion polls, most of which were showing a double-digit Labour lead and making it seem likely that Neil Kinnock would be the next Prime Minister.

Conservative MPs elected Chancellor of the Exchequer John Major as their new leader on 27 November 1990, and he was invited by the Queen to form a government the following day.

Fate

The change of leader from Margaret Thatcher to John Major saw a revival in Tory support, with the double-digit lead in the opinion polls for the Labour Party being replaced by a narrow Conservative one by the turn of 1991. Although a general election did not have to be held until June 1992, Labour leader Neil Kinnock kept pressurising Major to hold an election during 1991, but Major resisted the calls and there was no election that year.

The recession which began in the autumn of 1990 deepened during 1991, with unemployment standing at nearly 2.5 million by December 1991, compared to 1.6 million just 18 months earlier. Despite this, Tory support in the opinion polls remained relatively strong, with any Labour lead now being by the narrowest of margins, although Labour still made some gains at the expense of the Tories in local elections, and seized the Monmouth seat from the Tories in a by-election.

Major finally called an election for 9 April 1992 which ended the first Major ministry. In a surprise to most pollsters, Major won the election, which led to the formation of the Second Major ministry and a fourth consecutive Conservative term in office.

Cabinet

November 1990 – April 1992

First Major Cabinet[3]
Portfolio Minister Term
Cabinet ministers
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
The Rt Hon. John Major MP 1990–97
Lord Chancellor The Rt Hon. The Lord Mackay of Clashfern 1987–97
Chancellor of the Exchequer The Rt Hon. Norman Lamont MP 1990–93
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs The Rt Hon. Douglas Hurd MP 1989–95
Home Secretary The Rt Hon. Kenneth Baker MP 1990–92
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food The Rt Hon. John Gummer MP 1989–93
Secretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon. Tom King MP 1989–92
Secretary of State for Education The Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Employment The Rt Hon. Michael Howard MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Energy The Rt Hon. John Wakeham MP 1989–92
Secretary of State for the Environment The Rt Hon. Michael Heseltine MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Health The Rt Hon. William Waldegrave MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland The Rt Hon. Peter Brooke MP 1989–92
Lord President of the Council
Leader of the House of Commons
The Rt Hon. John MacGregor MP 1990–92
Lord Privy Seal
Leader of the House of Lords
The Rt Hon. The Lord Waddington 1990–92
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Rt Hon. Chris Patten MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Social Security The Rt Hon. Tony Newton MP 1989–92
Secretary of State for Scotland The Rt Hon. Ian Lang MP 1990–95
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
President of the Board of Trade
The Rt Hon. Peter Lilley MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Transport The Rt Hon. Malcolm Rifkind MP 1990–92
Chief Secretary to the Treasury The Rt Hon. David Mellor MP 1990–92
Secretary of State for Wales The Rt Hon. David Hunt MP 1990–93
Also attending cabinet meetings
Attorney General The Rt Hon. Patrick Mayhew MP 1987–92
Chief Whip
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
The Rt Hon. Richard Ryder MP 1990–95

List of Ministers

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Date
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
John Major 28 November 1990 – 1 May 1997
Lord Chancellor The Lord Mackay of Clashfern Continued in office
Lord President of the Council John MacGregor Continued in office
Lord Privy Seal The Lord Waddington 28 November 1990
Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont 28 November 1990
Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Mellor 28 November 1990
Minister of State, Treasury Gillian Shephard 28 November 1990 – 11 April 1992
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Richard Ryder 28 November 1990
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Francis Maude Continued in office
Lords of the Treasury Sydney Chapman Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Greg Knight Continued in office – 27 May 1993
Irvine Patnick Continued in office – 20 July 1994
Nicholas Baker 3 December 1990 – 20 July 1994
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd 26 October 1989
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lynda Chalker[a] Continued in office – 1 May 1997
The Earl of Caithness Continued in office – 15 April 1992
Tristan Garel-Jones Continued in office – 27 May 1993
The Hon. Douglas Hogg Continued in office – 5 July 1995
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs The Hon. Mark Lennox-Boyd Continued in office
Minister for Overseas Development Lynda Chalker, Baroness Chalker of Wallasey[b] Continued in office
Secretary of State for the Home Department Kenneth Baker 28 November 1990
Minister of State for Home Affairs John Patten Continued in office – 14 April 1992
The Earl Ferrers Continued in office – 20 July 1994
Angela Rumbold Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs Peter Lloyd Continued in office – 15 April 1992
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food John Gummer Continued in office
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food The Baroness Trumpington Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food David Curry Continued in office – 14 April 1992
David Maclean Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Minister for the Arts[c] Tim Renton 28 November 1990
Secretary of State for Defence Tom King Continued in office
Minister of State for the Armed Forces The Hon. Archie Hamilton Continued in office
Minister of State for Defence Procurement Alan Clark Continued in office
Under-Secretary of State for Defence Kenneth Carlisle 28 November 1990 – 15 April 1992
The Earl of Arran 28 November 1990 – 15 April 1992
Secretary of State for Education and Science[d] Kenneth Clarke Continued in office
Minister of State, Education and Science Timothy Eggar Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State, Education and Science Alan Howarth Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Michael Fallon Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Robert Atkins[e] 28 November 1990 – 14 April 1992
Secretary of State for Employment Michael Howard Continued in office
Under-Secretary of State, Employment Robert Jackson Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Eric Forth Continued in office – 14 April 1992
The Viscount Ullswater Continued in office – 16 September 1993
Secretary of State for Energy John Wakeham Continued in office[f]
Under-Secretary of State, Energy The Hon. Colin Moynihan Continued in office – 11 April 1992
David Heathcoat-Amory 28 November 1990 – 11 April 1992
Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine 28 November 1990
Minister of State for Local Government Michael Portillo Continued in office
Minister of State for Housing Sir George Young 28 November 1990
Minister of State for Environment and Countryside David Trippier 28 November 1990
Minister of State, Environment The Baroness Blatch 21 May 1991 – 13 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State, Environment The Baroness Blatch Continued in office – 21 May 1991
Robert Key Continued in office – 15 April 1992
Tim Yeo 28 November 1990 – 15 April 1992
Tony Baldry 28 November 1990 – 20 July 1994
Secretary of State for Health The Hon. William Waldegrave Continued in office
Minister of State, Health Virginia Bottomley Continued in office
Under-Secretary of State, Health and Social Security The Baroness Hooper Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Secretary of State for Social Security Tony Newton Continued in office
Minister of State, Social Security Nicholas Scott Continued in office – 20 July 1994
Under-Secretary of State, Social Security Michael Jack 28 November 1990 – 14 April 1992
Ann Widdecombe 30 November 1990 – 27 May 1993
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Chris Patten 28 November 1990
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Brooke Continued in office
Minister of State, Northern Ireland Brian Mawhinney 28 November 1990 – 14 April 1992
The Lord Belstead[g] 28 November 1990 – 14 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Richard Needham
(The Earl of Kilmorey)
Continued in office – 15 April 1992
Jeremy Hanley 3 December 1990 – 27 May 1993
Paymaster-General The Lord Belstead[h] 28 November 1990
Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Lang 28 November 1990
Minister of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland The Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Continued in office – 6 July 1995
The Lord Strathclyde Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Allan Stewart 28 November 1990 – 8 February 1995
Minister for Trade Tim Sainsbury Continued in office
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Peter Lilley Continued in office
Minister for Industry The Lord Hesketh Continued in office
vacant 21 May 1991
Minister for Corporate Affairs John Redwood Continued in office – 13 April 1992
Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Edward Leigh Continued in office – 27 May 1993
The Lord Reay 22 May 1991 – 14 April 1992
Secretary of State for Transport Malcolm Rifkind 28 November 1990
Minister of State, Transport The Lord Brabazon of Tara Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Minister for Public Transport Roger Freeman 28 November 1990 – 20 July 1994
Under-Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Christopher Chope Continued in office – 14 April 1992
Secretary of State for Wales David Hunt Continued in office
Minister of State for Wales Wyn Roberts Continued in office – 20 July 1994
Under-Secretary of State for Wales Nicholas Bennett 3 December 1990 – 14 April 1994
Attorney General Sir Patrick Mayhew Continued in office
Solicitor General Sir Nicholas Lyell Continued in office
Lord Advocate The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie Continued in office
Solicitor General for Scotland Alan Rodger[i] Continued in office
Treasurer of the Household Alastair Goodlad Continued in office
Comptroller of the Household David Lightbown 28 November 1990
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household John Mark Taylor 28 November 1990
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Denham Continued in office
The Lord Hesketh 2 May 1991
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Viscount Davidson Continued in office
The Earl of Strathmore 30 December 1991
Lords-in-Waiting The Lord Reay Continued in office – 21 May 1991
The Earl of Strathmore Continued in office – 30 December 1991
The Baroness Blatch Continued in office – 7 September 1990
The Lord Cavendish of Furness Continued in office – 22 April 1993
The Viscount Astor Continued in office – 16 September 1993
The Earl Howe 30 May 1991 – 15 April 1992
The Baroness Denton January 1992 – 15 April 1992
Notes
  1. ^ Also Minister of Overseas Development; created Baroness Chalker of Wallasey 24 April 1992.
  2. ^ Also Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; created Baroness Chalker of Wallasey 24 April 1992.
  3. ^ Functions transferred on 11 April 1992 to Department of National Heritage.
  4. ^ Reorganised as Office of Education 10 April 1992.
  5. ^ Under-Secretary of State, Sport.
  6. ^ Office abolished 11 April 1992.
  7. ^ Also Paymaster-General.
  8. ^ Also Minister of State, Northern Ireland.
  9. ^ Not an MP.

References

Notes
  1. ^ Lord Whitelaw never officially held the title of Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was however Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party until 1991.[1][2] See Hennessy (2001:405)
Sources
  1. ^ "Willie Whitelaw dies aged 81". The Guardian. Press Association. 1 July 1991. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Sherrin, Ned (25 September 2008). Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. OUP Oxford. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-19-923716-6. 
  3. ^ "Holders of Ministerial Office in the Conservative Governments 1979-1997" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 

Further reading

External links

  • British Cabinet and Government Membership, archived from the original on 16 January 2009, retrieved 20 April 2012 
  • British Government 1979–2005, archived from the original on 7 February 2012, retrieved 20 November 2007 
Preceded by
Third Thatcher ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1990–1992
Succeeded by
Second Major ministry
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