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1995 - Mr Major’s Interview on the Local Election Results

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments made concerning the 4th May 1995 local election results, made in an interview held on Friday 5th May 1995.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked how he would turn around the fortunes of the Conservative Party following the poor local election results]

PRIME MINISTER:

They were poor results, there is no point in hiding that. And it is increasingly clear as you disinter the details of the results quite how many of our natural supporters declined to come out and vote. The number of people who I bumped into this morning who said they didn’t vote yesterday but don’t worry we will be there at the general election, but we have found what has gone on in the last period a bit tedious., So I think there are a lot of people there who have not changed their mind and gone away, they just want to be persuaded back to us, and I think that is eminently do-able.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what had gone wrong]

PRIME MINISTER:

I think it is essentially the recession. The recession was long and hard, longer than we thought, deeper than we thought. And in order to meet the long-term policy objectives we have got we had to produce some policies that were very unpopular for people, and not only unpopular but they were opposed to what Conservative Parties normally like to do.

The Conservative supporters in the country find it counter-intuitive when a Conservative government has to increase taxes. The fact that we had to increase taxes for the good conservative reason that you cannot spend more money than you have got, doesn’t detract from the fact that people don’t like to see taxes raised, and there are other examples as well of course I could give you. So I think that is the principal reason.

The question that arises from that is, if we are planning for the long term, have we got it right, are we going to deliver the long term improvements that people want and are they going to be there in time for the next general election? I believe we have and I believe they will be. And at the time of the next general election I think the recovery that is now patently obvious for business and commerce and economists, but not yet patently obvious to the public, will be there for everyone to see.