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This Sceptred Isle

The Poll Tax, the E.R.M., & Exit Margaret Thatcher
1990 was the year of violent protests against the Government's plan for the revised rating system. This became known as the Poll Tax after the hated 13th century Poll Tax, which in the 14th Century was a major cause of the Peasants' Revolt. The political result in the late 20th Century was a large anti-Government vote in local and by-elections.

By now, Thatcherism was discredited and there was every sign that she no longer controlled her cabinet. The previous year (1989) Thatcher had sacked Sir Geoffrey Howe from the Foreign Office and given the job to John Major. Howe became Lord President - but it was a non-job for someone she now regarded as a non-person. A few weeks later (October 1989) her Chancellor, Nigel Lawson had resigned. Once more she moved her only pawn, John Major, to the Treasury. Now in 1990, the Tory knives were sharpened. On November 1st 1990, Howe resigned and his 'good-bye' speech was devastating to Thatcher's authority. Three weeks later, the Tories held a leadership election and although the PM had a majority in the first ballot, it wasn't big enough. Most of her colleagues turned on her and she went. John Major (largely with the support of the Stop Heseltine movement) became Prime Minister, just eleven years after entering Parliament..

Queen Mother
Queen Mother
Queen Mother - Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (born 1900)

  • Born at St Paul's Walden Bury in Hertfordshire.
  • Where she was four her father became the Earl of Strathmore.
  • She has great affection for Glamis Castle, Scotland where she spent much of her childhood.
  • She married the Duke of York in 1923.
  • They had two daughters, Princess Elizabeth was born in 1926 and Princess Margaret in 1930.
  • On Edward VIII's abdication the Duke of York became King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen.
  • They became very popular particularly during the war years when they remained at Buckingham Palace and visited bomb sites.
  • On George VI's death she became known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and continued to work relentlessly for the monarchy.

did you know?
Margaret Thatcher was the longest continuous serving Prime Minister in British history.

Select historical period

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1979Margaret Thatcher PM (Conservative)
Rhodesian settlement at Lancaster House
1980Southern Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe
1981Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer
Ronald Reagan President of the USA
1982Britain wins the Falklands War
1983Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory
1984 Indira Gandhi of India assassinated
Death of poet, John Betjeman
1985Mikhail Gorbachev succeeds Chernenko as Soviet leader
1986Elizabeth II first British monarch to visit China
1987Worst storm of the century rages over Great Britain
1988George Bush wins US Presidential election
Bruges speech
1989Tiananmen Square massacre
1990Tories oust Margaret Thatcher
John Major new leader
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
1991The Second Gulf War
1993The Maastricht Treaty comes into force
1994Channel Tunnel inaugurated
Mandela President of South Africa
Death of Labour leader, John Smith
Bosnians reject Owen-Vance peace plan
1995Tony Blair drops Clause IV from Party Manifesto
UN 50th anniversary

Conservative Party Leadership Candidates 1990
Margaret Thatcher (First Ballot)
Michael Heseltine
John Major
Douglas Hurd

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