Prime Minister Achievements


Winston Churchill 1951-1955

Roy Jenkins said that " by his re-election in 1951 he was gloriously unfit for office"

Did most of the work by his bedside

Forced to resign

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Anthony Eden 1955-1957

Less than a year into his time in office his approval ratings went down from 70% to 40%

As prime minister he had little experience in domestic and economic affairs, he preferred economic affairs.

The Cold War was at its peak and he was preoccupied with maintaining Britain's power status.

Led Britain to miss out on crucial talks such as the Messina conference in 1955.

Humiliating defeat in suez(caused his downfall) which created an economic cirisis

US sanctions forced Eden to retreat

Lied to Parliament and civil servants to burn damaging evidence

He resigned in Janurary 1957 after showing that Britain was not as powerful as it had been

Thorpe "Suez was a truly tragic end to his premiership"

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Harold Macmillan 1957-1963

He led the demoralised conservative party and a country in turmoil

Quickly restored the conservative party and confidence

Domestic policy

He was determined not to see mass unemployment of the 1930s

Champion of economic planning and modernisation

Living standards and prosperity increased

'Never had it so good"

Tory majority in  1959 election

International policy

Busy with the cold war=led country through the cuban missile crisis and was the first nuclear armed Prime minister.

Reorientated foreign policy

Close relationship with Eisenhower and Kennedy

Winds of change speech distanced the apratheid  and sped up decolonialisation

Entry into the EEC blocked by De Gaulle in 1963

Heavily involed in negotiating the Nuclear test ban treaty 1963

Economic policy

Balance of payments crisis

Portrayed as out of touch

Night of the long knives sacked 6 key ministers

After series of scandals= John Profumo he resigned in October 1963

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Alex Douglas-Home 1963-1964

1956=commonwealth secretary during Suez

Emerged as new leader when Macmillan resigned

Concentrated on winning the next election

Thorpe-"legacy of his government was the abolition of resale price

enabled the cut price stickers that are on goods

Reform- led by the president of the board of trade Edward Heath faced opposition within the party(held firm and the bill eventually passed.)

Took a tough stance on dealing with the TUs

JFK assassaination= relationships with US damaged after sale of Brit Layland buses to Cuba

Served as forign secretary to Edward Heath

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Harold Wilson 1964-1970

Shadow chancellor 1955-1961

Shadow foreigh secretary 1961-1963

As Labour leaser won 4/5 general eletions

1964=majority of 4 1966=98 majority

Main plan was modernisation "aided by white heat of the technology"

Liberalised laws on censorship/divorce/abortion/homosexuality and abolished capital punishment

Crucial steps taken towards stopping discrimation of women and minorities

Foreign Policy

Less modernisation

Wanted to maintain Britain as a world power= keep commonwealth united and nurturing special relationship

Vietnam skillfully balanced modernist ambitions with UK-US interests despite repeated American requests Britain kept troops out whilst maintaining relations.

He had fundamentally reshape world role inherited the overstretched military and £400 million balance of payments defecit= caused successive sterling crises

Launched defence review and created department for economic affairs

sterling crisis continued wilson forced to devalue £67= 2 million later= government announced British withdrawal from the East of Suez

Despite intitial hesitation Wilson recognised value of membership into the EEC and applied in 1967 but it was rejected.

Believing his popularity increased called a general election was defeated by Heath

Kept as Labour leader

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Edward Heath 1970-1974

Chief whip to Eden

Backed Macmillan to lead Britain into the EEC

Won 1970 election his only term= during time of strong industrial decline

He was elected on manifesto

Unemployment increased with strength of TUs forced to do the famous Uturn on government economic policy

It was from this TU's sensed they could seize initiative

Heath's attempts to weaken power failed=when demands where not met miners strike 1972/1974

1974 3 day week implemented ,limited power

worked to create lasting peace in Northern Ireland

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Harold Wilson 1974-1976

Hung parliament fromed minority government called an election in October 1974 and won with a small majority of 3

1974-1976= concentrate heavily on domestic policy= social reforms on education/health/housing/gender equaity/price controls/pensions/child poverty/ provisions for the disabled

As result income tax on tom earners was 83%

tried to resolve troubles in Northern Ireland and failed

He limitd damage= denegotiaiton of EEC

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James Callaghan 1976-1979

Grew up during the depression

Didnt go to university

As chanellor he oversaw devaluation of the £ in 1967

Home secretary saw an increase of scretarian violence in Northern Ireland worse under Edward Heath

When Macmillan resigned he won leadership in election and became PM he was popular across the party

Callaghan government lost majority of seats in Parliament on the first day in office

Forced to rely on the support of the liberals in 1977/1978 then SNP for the remainder

1976 police act formalised police complaint procedure

housing act 1977 responsibility of local councils to provide housing for the homeless

education act 1976 limited the number of independant and grant maintained schools in 1 area


1976 inflation was at 17%

1.5 million unemployed

controversial decision to ask IMF for emergency loan 1976 created tensions in the cabinet

His successful leadership during cabinet consideration eanred him praise

Despite success further attempts by government to reduce inflationthrough wage restrictions for public sector workers caused wave of strikes

1978/1979 winter of discontent

severly undermined by events vote of no confidence was called by Mp's in 1979 motion passed by 311/310

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Margaret Thatcher 1979-1990

Won leadership from Ted Heath in 1975 which was a suprise to many

1979 won general election

First 2 years not easy as unemployment was very high but the economy did gradually improve

She brought more of her supporters into cabinet and added to her reputation by leading country to war against Argentina in Falklands

1983 won overwhelming majority helped by the divisions in opposition

Government followed radical programme= privatisation/deregualtion/reform of TU's/ tax cuts/ introduction of market mechanisms in health and education aim was to reduce the relaince on government and increase it for the self

Became a famous international figure=good relationship with reagan. Gained praise over the soviet leader

Europe= great difficulty during her time in officenlong serving Forighn secretary Howe resigned November 1990 over protest to her damaging attitude towards Europe

Resignation speech lead to her leaving number 10

Heseltine challeneged her for leadership failed to win but won 152 votes

Thatcher eventually persuaded not to go to a second ballet won by Major who was chancellor of exchequer

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John Major 1990-1997

Did not attend university

87 entered the cabinet as chief executive to the treasury won admiration and respect

He could keep spending down was promoted to foreign secretary in 1989 and chancellor soon after

attempted to make peace in party and country in the wake of the decisive decade

took a leading role in gulf war survived IRA mortar attack on number 10 during a cabinet meeting

won the 1992 election= highest number of popular votes in history=smaller majority on 21

victory was on the back of reversing poll tax

5 months into parliament he was forced to abandon the ERM whihc was a big part in his economic policy

Intended to keep inflation down linking to exchange rates to Deutschmark

markets forced Uk out government spent £billions trying to duck market

fresh round conflict began over europe

secured numbr of opt outs from maastricht treaty regaurding social policy and membership of single currency= not change enough for some colleagues

continuous attacks from party on Europe

Number of press stories regarding infidelity and poor moral behaviour of the cabinet tory sleaze stuck and the party lost credibility

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