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Friday, 2 September 2005, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
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Conservative leaders' timeline
A Parliamentary faction known as the Tories supported by the landed gentry and the Church of England emerges.
John Stuart Earl of Bute was the first prime minister to be described as a Tory in 1762 but the faction which could not be described as a party in the modern sense nearly died out in the face of Whig dominance.
The Tories return to power under William Pitt the Younger.
The son of a Whig prime minister William Pitt took office at the age of 24 and went on to be one of the longest serving prime ministers. He steered Britain through the Napoleonic Wars and helped the country regain financial stability after the American War of Independence. He also championed free trade and union with Ireland. Successors included Henry Addington Spencer Perceval the only British prime minister to be assassinated and Lord Liverpool.
Robert Peel becomes leader of what is described as the Conservative Party for the first time.
During this period the Conservatives became what could be described as a political party in the modern sense. Peel's manifesto was used by candidates across the country. But he split the party in repealing the protectionist Corn Laws and resigned as prime minister.
The Earl of Derby serves three separate terms as prime minister.
A former Whig the Earl of Derby became the focus for the protectionists after Peel's resignation. He spent three years as prime minister in three stints which included the widening the electoral franchise to include all male householders through the 1867 Second Reform Bill.
Benjamin Disraeli becomes one of the most successful Conservative leaders.
Disraeli was the UK's first and so far only Jewish prime minister. His One Nation creed was based around improving conditions for the less welloff. His period in office was marked by his rivalry with Liberal William Gladstone.
Lord Salisbury the last peer to be prime minister takes over after Disraelis death.
During three periods in government Lord Salisbury won support from Liberals who opposed Home Rule for Ireland. Much of his focus was on foreign affairs for a time he was both prime minister and foreign secretary.
Arthur Balfour succeeds his uncle Lord Salisbury as Conservative leader.
Arthur Balfour served as prime minister until the Liberals' landslide victory in 1905. After stepping down as leader he served as foreign secretary. He was behind the 1917 Balfour Declaration which recognised the right to a Jewish state in Palestine.
Andrew Bonar Laws first stint as Conservative leader.
Bonar Law's first period in office was mostly spent as the junior partner in a wartime coalition with the Liberals. He resigned due to ill health.
Austen Chamberlain steps in after Bonar Laws health problems.
Chamberlain was criticised for being too close to Liberal David LloydGeorge. He was ousted in a revolt against the coalition in a vote of MPs at the Carlton Club on 19 October 1922. It is from this date the present day 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers gets its name.
Bonar Law leader for a second time persuades the Conservatives to end their coalition with the Liberals.
Liberal leader Lloyd George was forced to resign after his coalition with the Conservatives ended propelling Bonar Law back into Downing Street.
Stanley Baldwin replaces the dying Bonar Law as party leader.
After becoming prime minister and party leader in 1923 Baldwin went to the polls but lost to Labour. He returned to power the following year but lost the 1929 election. He was then invited to join the National Government formed by Labour's Ramsay MacDonald in August 1931. By 1935 he was prime minister again and was praised for his handling of the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936.
Neville Chamberlains reputation is tarnished by his appeasement of Hitler.
Neville Chamberlain took over as prime minister and party leader after Baldwin retired. His reputation was overshadowed by his dealings with Nazi Germany and the peace agreement he signed with Hitler in 1938 which abandoned Czechoslovakia to the Nazis and failed to prevent the onset of war. He remained in office until May 1940 but resigned after Germany invaded the Netherlands Belgium and France. He died of cancer within six months.
Winston Churchill proves to be a great war leader but suffers a surprise defeat at the polls.
Winston Churchill had long warned of the danger posed by Nazi Germany and by 1940 he was at the helm of a country at war. He brought Britain victory on 8 May 1945 but his Tory party suffered a heavy defeat at the polls a few weeks later at the hands of Labour. Churchill was returned to Downing Street in 1951 and finally retired from office four years later aged 81.
Anthony Edens time in office is overshadowed by the Suez crisis.
Long seen as a brilliant natural heir to Churchill Anthony Eden's reputation was left in tatters by the failed Suez invasion of January 1957. The resulting strain led to his resignation through ill health.
Harold Macmillan tells voters youve never had it so good.
Harold Macmillan earned the nickname "Supermac" for presiding over a period of relative prosperity famously telling voters "you've never had it so good". However the UK's application for membership of the EEC split his Conservative party and his handling of the Profumo Affair in which war minister John Profumo was forced to resign after an affair with a call girl was judged to be poor.
Sir Alec DouglasHome is handed the party leadership in controversial circumstances.
The last aristocrat to lead the Conservatives Scottish Earl Sir Alec DouglasHome emerged as the compromise candidate during a bitter party conference in Blackpool which saw Macmillan's sudden resignation. He led the party to a narrow 1964 election defeat against Harold Wilsons Labour Party.
Edward Heath wins a surprise election victory and takes Britain into the Common Market.
Ted Heath defied the opinion polls and pundits to pull off a narrow election victory in 1970. He took Britain into what is now the European Union a decision that divided future generations of Tory MPs. He was ousted as party leader by Margaret Thatcher in 1975 after losing the second of two 1974 general elections amid crippling industrial unrest.
Margaret Thatcher becomes Britains first female prime minister and the first to serve three successive terms.
Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving prime minister in more than 150 years securing three election victories in 1979 1983 and 1987. Famed for her tough uncompromising style she privatised statecontrolled industries curbed union power and secured victory in the Falklands War. Eventually weakened by the Poll Tax she resigned after failing to emphatically see off a leadership challenge.
John Major introduces a more consensual style but is hampered by splits over Europe.
John Major confounded the opinion polls by winning a tight general election victory in 1992 but he never recovered from the financial chaos of Black Wednesday when the £ crashed out of the European exchange rate mechanism. The remainder of Major's time was characterised by infighting with Tory Eurosceptics and Opposition allegations of "sleaze". He stepped down after Tony Blair's New Labour inflicted a huge defeatat at the polls in 1997.
William Hague becomes the youngest Tory leader in modern times but does not recover lost ground.
At the 2001 general election William Hague mounted a populist rightwing campaign around a "save the £" slogan but the Conservatives managed to gain only one seat and Hague resigned immediately afterwards.
Iain Duncan Smith fails to lead a Tory recovery and is ousted before he can fight an election.
Iain Duncan Smith was the only Conservative leader to be elected by grassroots members rather than MPs. It was not a happy experience however and the selfconfessed "quiet man" fell to a vote of no confidence from MPs never getting to fight an election as party leader.
Michael Howard comes to the rescue of a party in disarray.
Michael Howard was elected uncontested for the leadership of a party that wanted to avoid further disunity. He helped the party gain 31 seats at the 2005 election but announced he would step down later in the year starting a prolonged race to succeed him.
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The Cameron story
The life story of the cycling Old Etonian who has become Conservative leader
NEWS AND ANALYSIS
Johnson gets frontbench job
Cameron vows green action
Tory frontline team unveiled
Cameron: PM 'stuck in past'
Cameron chosen as Tory leader
Analysis: Fifth time lucky?
A baronet's daughter who sports a tattoo on her ankle - and now a leader's wife
At-a-glance: New shadow cabinet
Q&A: New Tory leader
How Cameron won Tory crown
What is Cameron's agenda?
Who's who in inner circle
Cameron's victory speech
VIDEO AND AUDIO
HAVE YOUR SAY
Can Cameron revive Tories?
Our UK voters' panel react
Tory leadership race
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