John Major

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Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from the 1990 putsch that removed Margaret Thatcher to electoral defeat in 1997 by a rejuvenated Labour Party headed by Tony Blair. Was elected Tory leader as a compromise candidate, being seen as a less divisive figure than Michael Heseltine or the Europhile Kenneth Clarke. Won a general election in 1992 against most poll predictions due to a late swing against the possibility of a Prime Minister Neil Kinnock, but was unable to rally a tired, corrupt and demoralised party. One of Major's few memorable actions was the 'Back to Basics' family values initiative, which was followed by dozens of Tory resignations over the next year or so for sex and financial scandals. Indeed, it later emerged that Major had engaged in a four year affair with a fellow MP before entering the Cabinet.

Major's father was a trapeze artist who ran a garden gnome firm, while Major himself went into banking: a Pythonesque instance of somebody running away from the circus to become an accountant. The Guardian once referred to Major as "the least memorable Prime Minister since Bonar Law". Bonar who? Exactly.

Was fond of cricket.

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