During 1989 the Conservative government led by Thatcher had run into difficulties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, had resigned in October over Thatcher's determination to have advisers, specifically Sir Alan Walters. In 1989 Labour won their first national electoral victory since 1974 in the elections to the European Parliament, beating the Conservatives. As a result Thatcher faced mounting internal party criticism, which culminated in the decision of Meyer to offer a stalking horse candidacy for the party leadership.
|Ballot: 5 December 1989|
Thatcher won the contest overwhelmingly and her campaign was organised by former UK Cabinet minister, George Younger. She announced to the press outside 10 Downing Street, Thatcher said:
However, a total of 67 Conservative MPs failed to support Thatcher by either actively voting for Meyer, spoiling their ballot papers, or abstaining. After the ballot Meyer said: