Heppell, Timothy (2007) A Crisis of Legitimacy: The Conservative Party Leadership of John Major. Contemporary British History, 21 (4). pp. 471-490. ISSN 13619462

This article evaluates the insecurity of tenure that John Major suffered as leader of the Conservative party. It offers a chronological narrative that demonstrates that for the duration of his tenure as leader of the Conservative party, Major lacked the necessary authority within the parliamentary Conservative party to ensure his legitimacy as Conservative party leader. A range of explanatory themes are explored such as the circumstances through which he acquired the leadership; the betrayal thesis of the Thatcherites and the absence of a cohesive and enduring group of Majorities; and the lack of credible unifying alternatives. The article concludes that Major was the default leader of the Conservative party.

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