2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom's component of the 2019 European Parliament election is due to be held on Thursday 23 May 2019. It will be the ninth time for the United Kingdom and the fourth time for Gibraltar to elect MEPs to the European Parliament. Candidate nominations must be submitted by 16:00 on 24 April 2019, voter registration must be completed by 7 May 2019; the UK's ongoing withdrawal from the European Union is expected to be the central issue of the election campaign, it is uncertain how long British MEPs will sit before the withdrawal process is complete. While it is the default position in UK and EU law for the election to take place, the UK Government is continuing attempts to avoid participation by agreeing withdrawal before 23 May; the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union on 29 March 2017 following a referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union. As a result, the country was due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, before the European Parliament elections took place.
Nonetheless, on 27 May 2018, it was reported that the UK's Electoral Commission had set aside £829,000 for its "activities relating to a European Parliamentary election in 2019". The Commission described the money as a "precautionary measure, so that we have the necessary funds to deliver our functions at a European Parliamentary election, in the unlikely event that they do go ahead"; the European Parliament resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament included these clauses: H7 refers to the re-allocation of some UK seats following the UK withdrawal from the EU, stating: "Underlines that the seats to be vacated by the United Kingdom upon its withdrawal from the European Union will facilitate the adoption of a new allocation of seats in Parliament, which will implement the principle of degressive proportionality. H6 has a contingency for the situation that the UK does not leave the EU before the 2019 election, stating that "in case the above mentioned legal situation concerning the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union changes, the allocation of seats applied during the 2014–2019 parliamentary term should apply until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union becomes effective"-The European Council drew up contingency plans allowing the UK to retain its MEPs should Brexit be postponed.: However, in the event that the United Kingdom is still a Member State of the Union at the beginning of the 2019-2024 parliamentary term, the number of representatives in the European Parliament per Member State taking up office shall be the one provided for in Article 3 of the European Council Decision 2013/312/EU until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union becomes effective.
After Brexit was delayed beyond its initial planned date of 29 March 2019, the possibility of a sufficiently long delay so as to require the elections to take place became more apparent. The period for withdrawal under Article 50 was first extended, with the unanimous approval of the European Council, until 12 April 2019 — the deadline for informing the EU of the intention to hold elections. By early April, the House of Commons had voted again to extend the withdrawal period, a deadline of 31 October 2019 was agreed; the UK Government therefore ordered preparations for the election. Ratification of a withdrawal agreement by the UK and European parliaments would still permit the UK to leave before October. If this occurs before 23 May, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar will not take part in the 2019 European Parliament elections scheduled for May 2019. Having elections for the European Parliament while the UK is due to leave the European Union has been seen as problematic, with the UK Government keen to avoid this scenario.
The backdrop of ongoing debate around Brexit is expected to be significant in how people vote, with the election expected to be seen by some as a "proxy referendum" on whether the country should leave the EU or not. Commentators suggest that the vote share for the two biggest UK parties, the Conservatives and Labour, could fall, with voters moving towards a number of pro-Leave or pro-Remain parties; the election is seen as being significant for two new parties, the Brexit Party and Change UK - The Independent Group. Following the prospect of a potential delay to Brexit, Conservative Party MEPs were asked by their delegation leader if they would consider standing again if there was a delay that would mean the UK staying in the EU beyond the date of the next European Parliament election. In April 2019, Labour said it had started its process for choosing candidates, while the Liberal Democrats selection process is ongoing; the Brexit Party are planning to run 70 candidates. Patrick O'Flynn, the Social Democratic Party's sole MEP, having been elected as a UKIP candidate, stated in April 2019 that the SDP will not be standing candidates at the election.
Northern Ireland has a different political context to Great Britain, with different parties traditionally standing. Sinn Féin are selecting a candidate for the Northern Ireland constituency on the weekend of 13/14 April 2019. In April 2019, Jane Morrice, co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition and a former deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, announced that she would stand as an independent in the Northern Ireland constituency on a pro-Remain platform. UKIP are standing on a platform of delivering Brexit. Nigel Farage, the
1999 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The European Parliament Election, 1999 was the United Kingdom's part of the European Parliament election 1999. It was held on 10 June 1999. Following the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, it was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom where the whole country used a system of proportional representation. In total, 87 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom; the change in voting system resulted in significant changes in seats. The Conservatives won double the number of seats they had won in the previous European election, in 1994, while the Labour Party saw its seats reduced from 62 to 29; the Liberal Democrats saw their number of seats increase to 10 from just 2 in the previous election. The UK Independence Party, Green Party and Plaid Cymru gained their first seats in the European Parliament; the House of Commons Library calculated notional seat changes based on what the result would have been if the 1994 European elections had been held under proportional representation.
The notional results and seat changes are shown in the results box for this article. It was the first European Parliament election to be held since the 1997 general election which resulted in a change of government from Conservative to Labour. Turnout was 24%, the lowest of any member state in the 1999 election where the EU average was 49.51%. It was the lowest of any European election in the United Kingdom, the lowest of any member state until the 2009 election; the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 introduced a closed-list party list system method of proportional representation, calculated using the D'Hondt method into Great Britain. In Northern Ireland, the Single Transferable Vote, a form of proportional representation, used since the first European election in 1979 was retained; the Act created twelve new electoral regions, which were based on the British government's nine administrative Regions of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The effect of the introduction of proportional representation was that many small parties won seats to the European Parliament for the first time.
The Conservatives doubled the number of seats from the last European election. Labour saw their 62 seats reduced to just 29, it was the first European Parliament election to be held since the change of United Kingdom government from Conservative to Labour two years earlier. The Liberal Democrats saw their number of seats increase to 10 from just 2 in the previous election; the UK Independence Party, Green Party and Plaid Cymru won their first seats in the European Parliament. These changes were due to the move to proportional representation from first-past-the-post; the House of Commons Library calculated that if the 1994 European elections had been held under proportional representation, Labour would have won 43 MEPs, the Conservatives 26, the Lib Dems 11, the SNP 3 and Plaid Cymru 1. Summary of the election results for Great Britain Summary of the election results for Northern Ireland Labour Angela Billingham Susan Waddington Veronica Hardstaff Clive Needle Peter Truscott David Thomas Carole Tongue Shaun Spiers Mary Honeyball Michael Elliot Dr Gordon Adam Tony Cunningham Mark Hendrick Hugh McMahon Anita Pollack Ian White Joe Wilson David Morris Michael Tappin David Hallam Roger Barton Barry Seal Liberal Democrat Robin Teverson Conservative Edward Kellett-Bowman Bryan Cassidy Pro-Euro Conservative Party John Stevens, former Conservative MEP Brendan Donnelly, former Conservative MEP Independent Labour Christine Oddy, former Labour MEP Scottish Socialist Party Hugh Kerr, former Labour MEP Leeds Left Alliance Ken Coates, former Labour MEP Labour's results resulted in a debate within Labour about the introduction of proportional representation.
In September 1998, a poll of 150 MPs had found that 58% backed the introduction of proportional representation. A follow up poll ran on the Sunday after the election found that this had decreased to 43%, with the majority wanting a return to the first-past-the-post system, it has been argued however, that the introduction of proportional representation reduced Labour's losses as first-past-the-post is more sensitive to swings in public opinion. Elections in the United Kingdom: European elections Members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom 1999–2004 Members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom 1999–2004 by region Breakdown of results by Region House of Commons Research Paper 99/64 "Elections to the European Parliament – June 1999"
European Communities Act 1972 (UK)
The European Communities Act 1972 known as the ECA 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which made legal provision for the accession of the United Kingdom to the three European Communities, namely the EEC, the Coal and Steel Community. The Treaty of Accession was signed by the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath and the President of the European Commission Franco Maria Malfatti in Brussels on 22 January 1972; the Act provided for the incorporation into UK law of the whole of European Community law and its "acquis communautaire": its Treaties and Directives, together with judgments of the European Court of Justice. By the Act, Community Law became binding on all legislation passed by the UK Parliament. Arguably the most significant statute to be passed by the Heath government of 1970-74, the Act is one of the most significant UK constitutional statutes passed; the act has been amended from its original form, incorporating the changes wrought by the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon.
On 13 July 2017, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, introduced what became the European Union Act to Parliament which makes provision for repealing the 1972 Act on "exit day", when enacted defined as 29 March 2019 at 11 p.m. but postponed by EU decision to either 22 May 2019 or 12 April 2019. When the European Communities came into being in 1958, the UK chose to remain aloof and instead join the alternative bloc, EFTA; the British government regretted its decision, in 1961, along with Denmark and Norway, the UK applied to join the three Communities. However, President Charles de Gaulle saw British membership as a Trojan horse for US influence, vetoed it; the four countries resubmitted their applications in 1967, the French veto was lifted upon Georges Pompidou succeeding de Gaulle in 1969. In 1970, accession negotiations took place between the UK Government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, the European Communities and various European leaders. Despite disagreements over the CAP and the UK's relationship with the Commonwealth, terms were agreed.
In October 1971, after a lengthy Commons debate, MPs voted 356-244 in favour of joining the EEC. For the Treaty to take effect upon entry into the Communities on 1 January 1973, for the UK to embrace the EEC Institutions and Community law, an Act of Parliament was required. Only three days after the signing of the Treaty, a European Communities Bill of just 12 clauses was presented to the House of Commons by Geoffrey Rippon; the European Communities Act came into being, Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 22 January 1972. Denmark and Ireland joined the Community on the same day, 1 January 1973, as the UK; the European Communities Bill was introduced the House of Commons for its first reading by Geoffrey Rippon, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 26 January 1972. On 17 February 1972, the House of Commons voted narrowly by 309-301 in favour of the Bill at its second reading, after three days of intense debate. Just before the vote the Prime Minister Edward Heath argued his case in the debate with the following words.
The Bill passed on to Committee Stage before its third reading. During this discussion in the House of Commons, MPs pointed out that the Government had structured the European Communities Bill so that Parliament could debate the technical issues about how the treaty enactment would occur but could not debate the treaty of accession itself and decried this sacrifice of Parliament's sovereignty to the Government's desire to join the European project. On 13 July 1972, the House of Commons voted 301-284 in favour of the Bill in its third and final reading before passing on to the House of Lords. Before the vote took place, Geoffrey Rippon argued in the House of Commons before the vote: The Bill passed to the House of Lords; the Act received Royal Assent on 17 October, the UK's instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited the next day with the Italian government as required by the Treaty. Since the Treaty specified its effective date as 1 January 1973 and the Act specified only "entry date" for its actions, the Act and the Treaty took effect 1 January 1973, when the United Kingdom became a member state of the European Communities along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
The European Communities Act was the instrument whereby the UK Parliament effected the changes required by the Treaty of Accession by which the UK joined the European Union. Section 2 says "the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect" in the UK, it enables, under section 2, UK government ministers to make regulations to transpose EU Directives and rulings of the European Court of Justice into UK law. The Treaty itself says the member states will conform themselves to the European Communities existing and future decisions; the Act and the Treaty of Accession have been interpreted by UK courts
1989 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The European Parliament Election, 1989, was the third European election to be held in the United Kingdom. It was held on 15 June; the electoral system was First Past the Post in England and Wales and Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland. The turnout was again the lowest in Europe; this election saw the best performance by the Green Party, collecting over 2 million votes and 15% of the vote share. It had only received 70,853 as the Ecology Party in the previous election. However, because of First Past the Post system, the Green Party did not gain a single MEP, while the Scottish National Party received 1 seat with only 3% of the vote share; the Green Party's vote total of 2,299,287 remains its best performance in a national election, as does its percentage result of 14.5%. To date, it is the most recent election; the election saw Labour overtake the Conservatives for the first time in any election since October 1974 and the first time in a European election, winning 13 more seats. Overall turnout: 36% Overall votes cast: 15,896,078 Total votes cast: 15,361,267 Total votes cast – 534,811.
Labour – Neil Kinnock Conservative – Margaret Thatcher Green – N/A Liberal Democrat – Paddy Ashdown SNP – Gordon Wilson Plaid Cymru – Dafydd Elis Thomas DUP – Ian Paisley SDLP – John Hume UUP – James Molyneaux Elections in the United Kingdom: European elections List of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom, 1989–94
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time, with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At the 1895 general election, the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party, believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
In 1899, a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.
It had no single leader, in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united; the October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative Government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis
Sir John Major is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served as Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher Government from 1989 to 1990, was the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon from 1979 until his retirement in 2001. Since the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013, Major has been the oldest living former Prime Minister. Born in St Helier, Major grew up in Brixton, he worked as an insurance clerk, at the London Electricity Board, before becoming an executive at Standard Chartered. He was first elected to the House of Commons at the 1979 general election as the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon, he served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary, Assistant Whip and as a Minister for Social Security. In 1987, he joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was promoted to Foreign Secretary two years later. Just three months in October 1989, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he presented the 1990 budget.
Major became Prime Minister after Thatcher's reluctant resignation in November 1990. He presided over British participation in the Gulf War in March 1991, negotiated the Maastricht Treaty in December 1991, he went on to lead the Conservatives to a record fourth consecutive electoral victory, winning the most votes in British electoral history with over 14,000,000 votes at the 1992 general election, albeit with a reduced majority in the House of Commons. Shortly after this though a staunch supporter of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, his government became responsible for British exit from the ERM after Black Wednesday on 16 September 1992; this event led to a loss of confidence in Conservative economic policies and Major was never able to achieve a lead in opinion polls again. Despite the eventual revival of economic growth amongst other successes such as the beginnings of the Northern Ireland peace process, by the mid-1990s, the Conservative Party was embroiled in scandals involving various MPs.
Criticism of Major's leadership reached such a pitch that he chose to resign as party leader in June 1995, challenging his critics to either back him or challenge him. By this time, the Labour Party had abandoned its socialist ideology and moved to the centre under the leadership of Tony Blair and won a large number of by-elections depriving Major's government of a parliamentary majority in December 1996. Major went on to lose the 1997 general election five months in one of the largest electoral defeats since the Great Reform Act of 1832. Major was succeeded by William Hague as Leader of the Conservative Party in June 1997, he went on to retire from active politics, leaving the House of Commons at the 2001 general election. In 1999, a BBC Radio 4 poll ranked. Major was born on 29 March 1943 at St Helier Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital for Children in St Helier, the son of Gwen Major and former music hall performer Tom Major-Ball, sixty-three years old when Major was born, he was christened "John Roy Major" but only "John Major" was recorded on his birth certificate.
He used his middle name until the early 1980s. Major grew up in Longfellow Road, Worcester Park, where he attended primary school at Cheam Common and from 1954, he attended Rutlish School, a grammar school in the London Borough of Merton. In 1955, with his father's garden ornaments business in decline, the family moved to Brixton; the following year, Major watched his first debate in the House of Commons, where Harold Macmillan presented his only Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has attributed his political ambitions to that event. He credited a chance meeting with former Prime Minister Clement Attlee on the King's Road shortly afterwards. Major left school just before his 16th birthday in 1959 with three O-levels in History, English Language and English Literature, he gained three more O-levels by correspondence course, in the British Constitution and Economics. Major's first job was as a clerk in the London based insurance brokerage firm Pratt & Sons in 1959. Disliking this job, he resigned.
Major joined the Young Conservatives in Brixton at this time. Major was nineteen years old when his father died, at the age of eighty-two on 27 March 1962, his mother died eight and a half years in September 1970, at the age of sixty-five. After Major became Prime Minister, it was misreported that his failure to get a job as a bus conductor resulted from his failing to pass a maths test, he had been passed over owing to his height. After a period of unemployment, Major started working at the London Electricity Board in 1963, where incidentally his successor as Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked when he was young, he decided to undertake a correspondence course in banking. Major took up a post as an executive at the Standard Chartered Bank in May 1965 and he rose through the ranks, he was sent to work in Jos, Nigeria, by the bank in 1967 and he nearly died in a car accident there. Major was interested in politics from an early age. Encouraged by fellow Conservative Derek Stone, he started giving speeches on a soap-box in Brixton Market.
He stood as a candidate for Lambeth London Borough Council at the age of 21 in 1964, was elected in the Conservative landslide in 1968. While on the Council he was Chairman of the Housing Committee, being responsible for overseeing the building of several large council housing estates, he lost his seat in 1971. Major was an active Young Conserv