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1992 - Mr Major’s Statement on the General Election

Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement on the date of the 1992 General Election, made in London on 11th March 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Good Morning. I can now confirm to you that this morning I saw Her Majesty The Queen and sought her permission for a dissolution of Parliament and a General Election on 9 April. I am pleased to say that Her Majesty has given her permission for that to go ahead.

There were a number of things, I have repeatedly said, we had to conclude before a General Election. We did need to conclude successfully the negotiations at Maastricht, we have done that. We needed to put on the Statute Books the replacement for the Community Charge, that is now satisfactorily on the Statute Book, And we needed a budget to set out the taxation and economic framework for the years ahead, that was completed yesterday in spectacular fashion by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I believe the time is now right to go ahead for a decision at a General Election. Up and down the country there is no doubt that business wants such a decision, it needs to know that the Conservative Party are safely back in government so it can proceed with its investment plans and see this country return from recession to recovery. I believe that will be able to go ahead the moment the election is concluded.

There will be a particularly clear choice at this General Election: a Conservative Party committed to low taxation, greater individual choice, greater independence, with a clear view of Britain's position in the world; or a principal opposition party committed to higher taxation for the high paid, committed I now understand to higher taxation for the low paid, the return of more trade union power and the return to many policies that proved so disastrous in years gone past.

That is a very clear decision indeed for the public to make and I shall be inviting them to make it on 9 April. I can take two or three questions and then I fear there are other things to be done.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, no government has gone into an election behind in the polls, the latest poll suggests you are 3 points behind, what makes you think that it is going to be any better for you?

PRIME MINISTER:

You must wait and see until 9 April, I am utterly confident that we will win the election, that we will win the election with a clear and working majority, I have no doubt about that.

QUESTION:

Why have you decided to call an election at a time when if you had called it either earlier or perhaps later you would have been in a better position in the opinion polls?

PRIME MINISTER:

As I indicated a moment or so ago, if I had called the election in the autumn we would not have concluded those vital negotiations at Maastricht, they were vital for this country, I said that throughout last year, I made it absolutely clear that I wished to see those negotiations satisfactorily through. Once we decided not to go for an election in the autumn it was the spring or the summer. We needed to complete the Council Tax Bill, we needed the Budget, all those things are done, the time for a decision has now come.

QUESTION:

Are you disappointed in the reaction to the budget?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I am not at all disappointed in the reaction to the Budget. I think it was perfectly clear from the reaction this morning that the Budget has been very well received. Up and down this country people will see that their tax bills are going to be reduced, every tax payer will face a reduced tax bill, three-quarters of the reduction will go to people on modest earnings and over 4 million people in future will find that all of their taxable income is taxed at 20 percent and not 25 percent. And in addition to that of course we have been able to find the resources to help many pensioners on relatively low incomes who will have a significant increase in resources from October. I think this will be a very popular Budget up and down the country.

QUESTION:

After 13 years is not the call going to be that it is time for a change?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have been Prime Minister for 16 months, there is a lot that I want to do in this country, there is a lot that I believe we can do to make this country an even better place to live in, to build on what has happened in the 1980s. We have got a stack of new ideas to take government closer to the people, to make sure that people have more choice, that they have more opportunity. Those are the themes that we will be putting forward to people. The fact that they should have more of their own money in their own pockets to spend as they think is right - that is one of the most important themes for any government to put before people.

QUESTION:

Are you defending the record of 16 months or 13 years?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have had a very successful record over 13 years, the change in people's living standards up and down this country in the last 13 years is absolutely remarkable and a tremendous tribute to what Margaret Thatcher achieved in her government. We are building on that, there is a huge amount that we will do to build on the base that has been laid in the 1980s and we are determined to do it throughout the 1990s.

QUESTION:

Is this going to be a very dirty campaign, the Tories have already been extremely negative in the postures they have struck before calling the election?

PRIME MINISTER:

Not as far as I am concerned. We have got a very positive programme to put before people, we will set it out very clearly. We faced a good deal of negative campaigning against us over the last 13 or 14 months, we have a clear idea of the sort of Britain we want to see, we are going to set it out, we are going to move towards it and after the General Election we are going to implement it.