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Alternative 1979
The 2009 Conservative Party Leadership Election

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The 1966 United Kingdom General Election

The 1964 General Election on 15 October brought to an end 13 years of Conservative government and led to the installation of Harold Wilson as Labour's third Prime Minister, and the youngest British Prime Minister for more than 150 years. However, the new Labour government had only won a majority of 4 seats. This was judged to be unworkably small. A by-election in January 1965 reduced their majority to 2.

On 28 February 1966, backed by strong performances in the polls, Harold Wilson announced there would be a snap General Election on Thursday 31 March. Parliament was dissolved on Thursday 10 March.

Labour ran their campaign under the slogan of "You know Labour government works". For the Conservatives, they didn't have much time to prepare for the election and their leader, Edward Heath, had had little time to become well acquainted with the public. The Liberals under Jo Grimond struggled financially to bankroll a second election campaign in under two years.

Polls leading up to election day itself showed large Labour leads, though optimism remained in the Conservative camp that their 1964 result would hold up well with limited losses, although they acknowledged privately that Harold Wilson was going to win an increased majority.

The result itself beat the expectations of everybody. Labour won a landslide majority of 216 seats - the largest since 1931. It was also the first election since 1931 where one party won an absolute majority of the votes cast across the United Kingdom, with Labour winning 51% of the vote.



Following the disastrous result of the election, Edward Heath conceded that it would be inconceivable for him to stay on as Leader of the Conservative Party, despite only being in post for eight months. He said he would remain on as Leader until the State Opening of Parliament before resigning to make way for the election of a successor.

Following the State Opening on 21 April, Heath resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party. Four candidates declared their intention to seek the leadership. Reginald Maudling and Enoch Powell, who both stood in 1965, said they would stand. Quentin Hogg and Iain Macleod, who were rumoured candidates the year before, also stood for the leadership.

The first ballot was held on Wednesday 4 May, with second and third ballots following on Wednesday 11 and Wednesday 18 May.

 
The 1971 United Kingdom General Election

Five years after his landslide, Harold Wilson called the next General Election for Thursday 18 March 1971 - one of the latest dates possible ahead of the expiry of the five-year term. Throughout the Parliament, the polls had fluctuated with the new Conservative leader, Reginald Maudling, proving to be popular with the public. The Conservatives performed well at local elections and held consistent leads in the opinion polls throughout the Parliament.

Maudling conceded publicly that it would be a "difficult job" to overturn the 216-seat majority that Wilson had won in 1966, but said he was "determined" to do the best he could in the election and hoped to become the next Prime Minister. Polls at the start of the campaign showed Labour leads of 7-12 points, but they narrowed as the campaign went on, ending in a 2-point Labour lead in the final poll, which still would've handed them a reasonably comfortable majority due to the sheer size of their 1966 landslide.

The election itself was a third successive Labour victory, the first time that had happened, and left Wilson with a much reduced majority of 82 seats. The Conservatives gained over 60 seats and had cut Labour's lead from over 12% in 1966 to under 5%. Despite this success, he resigned as Conservative leader shortly afterwards saying a new leader should "take our party forwards towards Government at the next election."



The leadership election for the Conservatives began almost immediately and three candidates put themselves forward. Quintin Hogg put his name forward for a second time, seeking to frame himself as the candidate to build on Maudling's election success. William Whitelaw threw his hat into the race, framing himself as the builder of bridges between the left and right of the party. And, Keith Joseph - one of the standard bearers of the Tory right - put his name forward, too. The first and only ballot took place on 8 April, which resulted in Quintin Hogg winning an absolute majority and the 15% lead over the second placed candidate as required under the rules. He was dully elected leader.

 
The 1976 United Kingdom General Election

Harold Wilson surprised the political world when he announced on 16 October 1974 that after 10 years as Prime Minister he would resign. A leadership election was immediately set into motion that, after two ballots, resulted in James Callaghan, the Foreign Secretary, becoming the Leader of the Labour Party. He was appointed Prime Minister on 1 November. Despite initial pressure for him to call a snap election, Callaghan maintained that the next election would take place in 1976 at the expiry of the current term. This gave him just over a year as Prime Minister before having to call an election.

The election was called in mid-February for 18 March. The Conservatives launched a campaign emphasising the rise in unemployment, the increasing militant behaviour of trade unions who were "holding Labour to ransom" and the need for change after over eleven years of Labour government. Callaghan's campaign acknowledged there difficulties arising, but that they were ones that only a Labour could solve. The Liberal campaign was overshadowed by the political and sex scandal surrounding their leader, Jeremy Thrope, who refused to resign until after the election. Whilst this was expected to damage the Liberals, they did improve on their 1971 performance.

The election resulted in a Conservative majority of 89 and ended Callaghan's short tenure as Prime Minister and Labour's eleven years in power. Quintin Hogg was appointed Prime Minister on 19 March.





After the General Election, James Callaghan announced that he would not immediately resign but would seek to stay on until the local elections in May. He did this, he said, with the support of the executive of the Labour Party and his (now Shadow) Cabinet. Following the local elections on 6 May, which resulted in losses for Labour, Callaghan resigned and the process for a leadership election began. Three candidates put themselves forward. Roy Jenkins and Michael Foot stood again, joined by Tony Benn. The first, and only, ballot of the election was held on 26 May 1976.

 

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Boris' Britain (2019)
The 2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election



Boris Johnson became Leader of the Conservative Party on Monday 22 July 2019 following the result of the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election. On Tuesday 23 July 2019, Theresa May chaired her final Cabinet meeting as Prime Minister. On Wednesday 24 July 2019, Theresa May attended her final Prime Minister's Questions as Prime Minister in the House of Commons. That afternoon, she travelled to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation with The Queen. Shortly afterwards, Boris Johnson was invited to form a new government. Over the course of that afternoon, evening and the following day the new Prime Minister formed his Cabinet and reshuffled the junior ministerial ranks.
 
Boris' Britain (2019)
The Boris Cabinet

The new Prime Minister started to form his Cabinet within an hour of entering Downing Street. The Great Offices of State were, as is tradition, appointed first.

Sajid Javid was appointed as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. To fill his shoes at the Home Office was Security Minister Ben Wallace. Jeremy Hunt was given a promotion to become Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State. Andrea Leadsom was the somewhat surprising choice to fill his shoes at the Foreign Office.


Penny Mordaunt retained her position as Defence Secretary, having only held it for a couple of months. Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab returned to Cabinet as the new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.

The new Brexit Secretary was Kit Malthouse, who had worked with Boris Johnson in London and famously brokered the Malthouse Compromise. Liz Truss, initially tipped to become Chancellor, was made the Business Secretary. Greg Hands was appointed International Trade Secretary.

Leadership contender Matt Hancock remained as Health Secretary. Michael Gove was moved to become the new Housing Secretary, with Therese Coffey succeeding him as Environment Secretary. Damian Hinds was another of the ministers to keep their job, in his case as Education Secretary.

Alok Sharma was appointed as Work and Pensions Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd. Tracey Crouch was appointed Culture Secretary. Theresa Villiers made a return to the Northern Ireland Office, whilst David Mundell and Alun Cairns stayed on as Scottish and Welsh Secretaries, respectively.

Gavin Williamson was appointed as the Leader of the House of Commons, while Baroness Evans retained her position as Leader of the House of Lords.

A small handful of others were given the right to attend Cabinet. They were the Minister without Portfolio and new Chairman of the Party, James Cleverly. The new Chief Whip, Steve Barclay. The new Chief Secretary, Julian Smith. The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox. DExEU minister Steve Baker, charged with no-deal planning. And MHCLG minister Jake Berry, charged with overseeing the Northern Powerhouse.
 
Boris' Britain (2019)
The 2019 United Kingdom General Election

The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, tabled a motion of no confidence in Her Majesty's Government. The debate and vote took place on the first day of Parliament's return from the summer recess - Tuesday 3 September. The result was 318-317 against the government, following the rebellion of three (previously) Conservative MPs: Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah and Guto Bebb.

The two-week period under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 during which a motion of confidence in a new government must be successful to avoid an election elapsed without success for either of the main parties on Tuesday 17 September. On that day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would go to Buckingham Palace the following day to formally request the dissolution of Parliament for a General Election. On Wednesday 18 September, a Crown proclamation was issued calling the General Election for Thursday 24 October. Parliament was dissolved the following day.

Opinion polls at the start of the campaign followed a pattern seen since early July: the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and The Brexit Party locked in a four-way battle. The campaign was, as expected, dominated by Brexit. Labour suffered when Jeremy Corbyn refused to answer whether Labour would back 'Remain' or it's own negotiated deal in the referendum it said it would hold if it won the election. This helped ensure predictions of a rapid Liberal Democrat fall away didn't materialise. Momentum was sucked out of Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party over the course of the campaign, though, with Boris Johnson telling the country that the election was the "last opportunity to save Brexit" and that under him Britain would be out of the EU on 31st October - just 7 days after the election. In Scotland, the fracturing of the unionist vote helped open the door to the SNP in seats it had lost two years previously.

On election night, the Exit Poll predicted a Conservative majority of 4, with the Tories on 327, Labour on 210, the SNP on 46, the Liberal Democrats on 44, Plaid Cymru on 3, the Greens on 1, The Brexit Party on 1 and the others on 18. The actual results returned a healthy Conservative majority for Boris Johnson, but on just 31% of the national vote - a record low for a majority-winning government. Turnout fell by over 4%, blamed on Brexit discontent among the electorate. Labour suffered it's worst performance in terms of seats since 1935 and it's worst performance in terms of vote share since 1918. The Liberal Democrats just managed to leap frog the SNP to reclaim the 3rd party position it had lost four years ago. The SNP made a small number of gains. The Brexit Party failed to win any seats. In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance all gained seats at the expense of the DUP and Sinn Fein. The Alliance won the third highest number of votes on 16.3%, compared to 23.1% for Sinn Fein and 32.4% for the DUP.




Conservative Majority of 28

 
THE 2010 UNITED KINGDOM GENERAL ELECTION
Following the removal of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister in Summer 2009, the then Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, took over as Leader of the Labour Party on 26th July and as Prime Minister on 27th July. Despite calls from the Opposition Leader, David Cameron, to call an autumn General Election, the new Prime Minister resisted the calls and said the General Election would take place, as planned, around the expiry of the existing parliamentary term in 2010.

On Tuesday 4th May, Alan Johnson travelled to Buckingham Palace for an audience with The Queen. Upon his return to Downing Street he announced that The Queen had agreed to a dissolution of Parliament on Monday 10th May for a General Election on Thursday 3rd June - the latest possible date for an election. Parliament was prorogued on Thursday 6th May.

The local council elections on Thursday 6th May took place under the new circumstances of a General Election having been called. The results of the local elections saw the Conservative Party win the highest share of the Projected National Share of the vote (PNS) on 33%, followed by the Labour Party on 31% and the Liberal Democrats on 24%. The Conservatives lost more than 200 councillors, their first drop in seats since 1996, whilst the Liberal Democrats lost more than 150. Labour gained more than 500 council seats.

The General Election campaign began formally on 10th May following the dissolution of Parliament. The first television debates between major party leaders in British history took place during the campaign, taking place on the three Thursdays preceding polling day - 13th May, 20th May and 27th May. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was judged to have performed best in the first debate and his performance resulted in a large, unexpected bounce in support for the party in the opinion polls. Prime Minister Alan Johnson was judged to have performed best in the second and third debates which led to increases in support for Labour in the opinion polls and placed the prospect of a Labour government after the election back on the table.

The result of the General Election was a hung parliament - the first since February 1974, with the Conservatives as the largest party on 277 seats and 34.9% of the vote. Labour won 272 seats and 29.1% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats achieved the best result for a third party since 1923 with 70 seats and 24.0% of the vote. The result came as a surprise for Conservatives who had still had hopes of winning an overall majority, and were highly confident of breaching the 300-seat barrier. The results saw the Liberal Democrats enter into coalition negotiations with both the Conservatives and Labour from 4th June. Talks with the Conservatives collapsed on 6th June. Talks with Labour concluded successfully on 9th June and Alan Johnson visited The Queen the same day and announced the formation of a coalition government - the first coalition since the Second World War.

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Labour-Liberal Democrat Coalition
Formed: Wednesday 9th June

Major Cabinet Positions

Prime Minister: Alan Johnson
Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg
First Secretary of State: The Lord Mandelson
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Ed Balls
Home Secretary: Vince Cable
Foreign Secretary: David Miliband
Defence Secretary: Ed Miliband
 
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The 2010 CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTION
Following the result of the General Election, Conservative leader David Cameron failed in his attempts to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. As a result, he conceded it would not be possible for him to continue as Leader of the Conservative Party and announced an election to choose his successor would take before the end of the year. On Friday 25th June, after the Queen's Speech debate concluded in the House of Commons earlier in the week, David Cameron announced that he would resign as leader of the party.

Graham Brady, the new Chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced on Monday 28th June that nominations would open for 24 hours on Wednesday 30th June. Nominations closed at 6pm on Thursday 1st July and it was confirmed that six candidates have put themselves forward to become leader of the party:

  • Philip Hammond: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • David Davis: Former Shadow Home Secretary
  • Michael Gove: Shadow Children, Schools and Families Secretary
  • William Hague: Shadow Foreign Secretary
  • Liam Fox: Shadow Defence Secretary
  • Theresa May: Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary
The first round of voting amongst Conservative Members of Parliament took place on Tuesday 6th July. Liam Fox (26 votes) was eliminated whilst Theresa May (28 votes) withdrew from the contest, leaving David Davis (94 votes), Michael Gove (49 votes), Philip Hammond (41 votes) and William Hague (39 votes) to go through to the second ballot on Thursday 8th July. In the second ballot, Hague (45 votes) was eliminated, leaving Davis (112 votes), Hammond (72 votes) and Gove (48 votes) to go through to the third ballot on Tuesday 13th July. In the third ballot, Hammond (74 votes) was eliminated, leaving Davis (127 votes) and Gove (76 votes) to go through to the postal ballot of almost 180,000 Conservative Party members. The ballot, whose result was declared on Wednesday 1st September, saw Davis win 73% of votes to Gove's 27%.

 
2011 SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT & WELSH ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
The 2011 elections to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales took place on Thursday 5th May 2011, and coincided with local council elections in England and elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

In Scotland, the SNP minority government under Alex Salmond fell back sharply in both the constituency and regional list votes and shed 4 seats from the last election in 2007. The Scottish Labour Party increased it's vote and retained the 46 seats it had in the last Parliament. The Scottish Liberal Democrats rose to third place with 19 seats (an increase of 3) and gained votes in constituencies, but lost votes on regional lists. The Scottish Conservatives won 18.4% of the constituency vote and 16.6% of the regional list votes, giving them 15 seats (down 2). The Scottish Greens won 6.9% of the regional list vote, giving them 6 seats (up 4). The Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Liberal Democrats negotiated a confidence-and-supply arrangement to support a minority Labour government under Iain Gray. Gray was voted in as First Minister on 18th May with 65 votes. Alex Salmond won 49 votes. There were 14 abstentions.


In Wales, the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition under Carwyn Jones retained its overall majority in the National Assembly, although it lost a number of seats. The Welsh Labour Party fell to 32% of the constituency vote and 28.1% of the regional list vote, giving them 21 seats (-5) - their lowest ever total. The Welsh Conservatives surged to take 28.9% of the constituency vote, 27.9% of the regional list vote and 20 seats (+8). Plaid Cymru fell to 21.8% of the constituency vote, 19.5% of the regional list vote and 11 seats (-4). The Welsh Liberal Democrats fell back to 13.1% of the constituency vote and 10.2% of the regional list vote, but increased their seat tally to 7 (+1). The UK Independence Party gained its first Assembly Member, taking 4% of the regional list votes and 1 seat (+1). Labour and Plaid Cymru agreed to continue their coalition, despite attempts from the Conservatives to forge a deal with Plaid Cymru themselves. Carwyn Jones was re-elected as First Minister on 11th May with 31 votes, to Conservative leader Nick Bourne's 21. There were 7 abstentions.


2011 UNITED KINGDOM CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM REFERENDUMS

The Labour Party manifesto in 2010 General Election committed to holding two referendums by October 2011 on changing the voting system for the House of Commons to Alternative Vote and on proposals to reform the House of Lords to become an elected Second Chamber using a proportional voting system. The Coalition Agreement with the Liberal Democrats enshrined these manifesto commitments into the legislative programme for the coalition. Both referendums, which were held on Thursday 6th October 2011, were operated under the Parliament Voting System and House of Lords Reform Referendum Act 2011.

The voting system referendum concerned whether or not to replace the present first past the post system with the alternative vote method. The House of Lords reform referendum concerned whether or not to accept proposals to reform the House of Lords into a chamber of 450 members that was 80% elected and 20% appointed, with elections using the closed-list proportional representation system and taking place at fixed points in line with the European Parliament elections.
The votes were the first national referendums to be held across the whole of the United Kingdom in the 21st Century. They were the second and third UK-wide referendums to be held, after the 1975 referendum on EC membership.


 
THE 2014 UNITED KINGDOM GENERAL ELECTION
The 2014 United Kingdom General Election took place on Thursday 22nd May 2014, and coincided with the elections to the European Parliament. It was called earlier two weeks earlier than necessary under the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011, which mandates that General Elections take place on the first Thursday in June every four years, with measures in place to allow an election to be held earlier.

Prime Minister Alan Johnson announced on 1st April that the Government would seek to bring forward the date of the election from 5th June to 22nd May to 'avoid voters going to the polls twice in as many weeks'. The motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act was brought before the House of Commons the following day where it passed without division. Parliament was prorogued on Thursday 10th April at the start of what would've been the Easter Recess. Dissolution took place on Monday 28th April and the 17 working-day campaign began.

After their success in 2010, a series of television debates between the major party leaders took place for a second time during the campaign. Once again, they were held on the three Thursdays preceding polling day - 1st May, 8th May, 15th May. The first and second debates featured the Leader of the Labour Party, Prime Minister Alan Johnson, the Leader of the Conservative Party, David Davis, and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The third debate featured four other party leaders and focused on European issues ahead of the European Parliament elections. Also attending were: Leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, the Leader of the Green Party of England & Wales, Caroline Lucas, the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, and the Leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond. Conservative leader David Davis was judged to have performed best in all three debates.

The result of the General Election was a Conservative majority of 60 - the first Conservative majority since 1992. The Conservatives won 355 seats and 37.9% of the vote. Labour were reduced to 227 seats, but slightly increased their vote share to 29.5%. The Liberal Democrats suffered a significant setback, being reduced to 37 seats and 14.7% of the vote. The UK Independence Party won 7.1% of the national vote, but 0 seats, whilst the Greens won 5.3% of the vote and 1 seat. The Scottish National Party won 9 seats and Plaid Cymru won 3 seats.

Alan Johnson tendered his resignation as Prime Minister to The Queen on Friday 23rd May and advised her to invite David Davis to form a new government, which she did. The handover of power brought to an end 17 years of Labour, or Labour-led, governments and an end to Alan Johnson's near-5-years in 10 Downing Street.




Davis Ministry
Formed: Friday 23rd May

Major Cabinet Positions
Prime Minister: David Davis
First Secretary of State: William Hague*
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Theresa Villiers
Home Secretary: Michael Fallon
Foreign Secretary: Michael Gove
Defence Secretary: Philip Hammond

*Also Chairman of the Conservative Party
 
THE 2014 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The United Kingdom's component of the 2014 European Parliament election was held on Thursday 22nd May 2014, coinciding with the 2014 General Election and 2014 local elections in England and Northern Ireland. In total, 73 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation. England, Scotland and Wales use a closed-list party list system of PR (with the D'Hondt method), while Northern Ireland used the single transferable vote (STV).

Most of the election results were announced after 10pm on Sunday 25th May - with the exception of Scotland, which did not declare its results until the following day - after voting closed throughout the 28 Member States of the European Union. The most successful party overall was the Conservative Party, which won 28 seats and 30% of the popular vote. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) won 21% of the national vote and 16 seats. The Labour Party won 12 seats and 16% of the popular vote. The Greens experienced a surge to 8 seats and over 12% of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats fell to 3 seats and 10% of the vote.
The turnout was 64.2% - the highest ever recorded for a European Parliament election in the United Kingdom. This was due to the fact that the 2014 General Election coincided with the election.



Other Parties
Green: 3,707,402 (12.4%) (+4.6), 8 seats (+6)
Liberal Democrat: 2,874,682 (9.6%) (-3.7), 3 seats (-8)
Scottish National Party: 656,538 (2.2%) (+0.1), 2 seats (=)
Plaid Cymru: 181,668 (0.6%) (-0.2), 1 seat (=)
 
THE 2015 EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERSHIP REFERENDUM
The Conservative Party's manifesto in the 2014 General Election committed to holding a referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union if the party won an overall majority. Prime Minister David Davis, a prominent eurosceptic, had promised the vote after "years of European integration without the explicit consent of the British people". He said the vote would be the "decisive" moment in Britain's 42-year membership of the Union.

The European Union (Referendum) Bill was announced in the 2014 Queen's Speech. The Bill was introduced to Parliament in November 2014 and passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 556-68 with Labour and the Liberal Democrats' leaderships agreeing to hold a referendum. Once the Bill passed its Commons and Lords stages it received Royal Assent in early February 2015. All 3 main parties signed a declaration committing to respect the result of the referendum, despite it being advisory in the eyes of the laws. The Prime Minister attended the European Council summit on 19th March and returned to London where, after a Cabinet meeting, he announced the date of the referendum as Thursday 10th September. Davis announced that collective responsibility had been lifted and that the Government would not take a position with ministers being allowed to campaign for whichever side they wished. Davis confirmed he would campaign for 'Leave'.

The campaign group 'Vote Leave' was selected by the Electoral Commission as the main campaign for 'Leave'. 'Strong In Europe' was selected as the main campaign group for 'Remain'. Davis was the figurehead for the Leave campaign while Labour Leader David Miliband was the figurehead for Remain. Opinion polls at the start of the campaign suggested a comfortable lead for 'Remain' with a large number of undecideds. The migrant crisis in the Mediterranean in the Summer and the strong performance of Davis and other leading 'Leavers' in television events saw polls narrow and 'Leave' take small leads in some.

Polls closed at 10pm on 10th September and a YouGov on-the-day poll suggested a victory for 'Leave' by 51-49. By the time the votes had been counted, 'Leave' had won with 53.2% of votes cast on a turnout of 76.2%, the highest since 1992. In a statement outside Downing Street the following morning, the Prime Minister hailed the "historic" result, but insisted that "while we will now leave the European Union, we are not leaving Europe". Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism by which the UK would exit the EU, would be triggered in 'early 2016'. First Secretary of State William Hague was appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on 15th September.

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Scotland Say "Yes"
2014 Scottish Independence Referendum

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A referendum took place on Thursday 18 September 2014 on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The referendum question was, "Should Scotland be an independent country?", which voters answered with "Yes" or "No". The "Yes" side won with 1,855,220 (50.1%) voting for independence and 1,845,237 (49.9%) voting against. The turnout of 86.5% was the highest recorded for an election or referendum in the United Kingdom since the January 1910 general election, which was held before the introduction of universal suffrage.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 set out the arrangements for the referendum and was passed by the Scottish Parliament in November 2013, following an agreement between the devolved Scottish government and the Government of the United Kingdom. The independence proposal required a simple majority to pass. All European Union (EU) or Commonwealth citizens residing in Scotland age 16 or over could vote, with some exceptions, which produced a total electorate of almost 4,300,000 people. This was the first time that the electoral franchise was extended to include 16 and 17 year-olds in Scotland.

Yes Scotland was the main campaign group for independence, while Better Together was the main campaign group in favour of maintaining the union. Many other campaign groups, political parties, businesses, newspapers, and prominent individuals were also involved. Prominent issues raised during the referendum included what currency an independent Scotland would use, public expenditure, EU membership, and North Sea oil. An exit poll revealed that retention of the pound sterling was the deciding factor for those who voted No, while "disaffection with Westminster politics" was the deciding factor for those who voted Yes.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation in the aftermath of the result and First Minister Alex Salmond called for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom to achieve an amicable separation in time for the planned date of independence on 24th March 2016.


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Scotland Say "Yes"
2014 Conservative Party Leadership Election
The 2014 Conservative Party leadership election occurred as a result of Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation as party leader. He had resigned following the Scottish referendum to secede from the United Kingdom. Cameron, who had campaigned for a 'No' vote, announced his resignation on 19th September, saying that he would step down by Christmas. Theresa May won the contest won the contest on 2 December 2014, winning more than twice the number of votes as her rival George Osborne. It was the first time that Conservative Party members directly elected a new Prime Minister.

Conservative Members of Parliament initially voted in ballots to determine which two candidates would go forward to a nationwide ballot of Conservative Party members for the final decision. Four Conservative MPs put themselves forward as candidates: Home Secretary Theresa May, David Davis, Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Whip Michael Gove.

In the first ballot, May gained the support of almost a third of Conservative MPs and was placed first with Osborne in second place. Davis was eliminated. Gove was eliminated in the second round of voting. Conservative Party members voted during November with the result announced on 2 December. May became Prime Minister on 3 December. She appointed Osborne to her Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, Gove as Leader of the House of Commons and Davis as Defence Secretary.


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