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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1987
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1987: Three on the trot for Thatcher
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1987: Heseltine
Heseltine's cabinet resignation rocks the government

Watch and listen 1987
The BBC takes stock the day after the election
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Michael Heseltine resigns from the cabinet
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Margaret Thatcher: “I hope to go on and on”
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Norman Tebbit, on the “Thatcher factor”
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Kinnock the Movie
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The Alliance unveils its campaign battlebus
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Key events
1983 Tory minister Cecil Parkinson resigns
1983 David Owen becomes SDP leader
1983 Neil Kinnock succeeds Michael Foot
1984-1985Miners' strike
1986 Wapping dispute
1986 Westland affair - Heseltine and Brittan resign
1987 Tax cutting Budget

The run-up to this election was not without its troubles for the Conservatives.

Serious strikes, the miners in 1984 and then the print dispute at Wapping, were particularly bitter, and cabinet resignations also left their mark.

Thatcher herself highlighted the importance of the resignation of Michael Heseltine and Leon Brittan over the Westland affair in 1986 when she told staff ahead of a parliamentary debate that: "From six o’clock today I may no longer be prime minister".

Needless to say she weathered the storm.

Labour attempted to re-group after the low of the 1983 campaign and the young - for a politician - at 41 Neil Kinnock was elected leader once Michael Foot stepped down.

Kinnock embarked on a thorough attempt to set Labour’s house in order.

Policies were re-considered, presentation improved - the Red Flag was ditched in favour of the Red Rose - and the "wild men" of the Militant Tendency were dealt with.

But the unilateralist defence policy still remained a weakness for Labour, while the Alliance was having its own troubles staying united, with the Liberal part much more in sympathy with Labour on defence and the SDP part much more akin to the Tories.