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29 June 1995: Major takes PMQs after resignation

House of Commons

It was a week after announcing his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party that John Major stood, once again, at the despatch box.

Mr Major resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, but not as prime minister, on 22 June 1995.

His party was deeply divided over Europe - an issue which had dogged the party for many years - and backbenchers were beginning to question Mr Major's ability to unite and lead the party to victory at the next general election.

So he threw in the towel and told his backbenchers to "put up or shut up".

And shut up they did. Mr Major was subsequently re-elected as leader, his sole challenger John Redwood getting 89 votes to Mr Major's 218.

The episode seemed to hand Mr Major a new lease of life. Strong and confident at the despatch box, the prime minister came back fighting and took the sting right out of Tony Blair's tail.

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