This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most momentous general elections this country has ever seen. John Major's defeat in 1997 ended a record eighteen years of Tory government, prompting accusations of failure and ignominy.
A controversial leader, Major oversaw numerous crises in international and domestic policy. Between 1990 and 1997, he presided over Britain's participations in the Gulf War, the start of the Northern Ireland peace process, the Maastricht Treaty negotiations and, famously, Black Wednesday and Britain's exit from the ERM.
Towards the end, Major's government was split over Europe and ridden with allegations of sleaze. Widely criticised by the media and politicians from all parties, Major went on to be crushed by Tony Blair and New Labour in the 1997 general election.
An Unsuccessful Prime Minister? is the first wide-ranging appraisal of John Major's government in nearly two decades. This book reconsiders the role of John Major as Prime Minister and the policy achievements of his government. Major's government faced many more constraints and left behind a more enduring legacy than his critics allowed at the time or since.