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1992
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1992: Major confounds the polls
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1992: Sheffield rally
Kinnock gets down at Labour's Sheffield rally

Watch and listen 1992
Election results from the Today Programme
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The poll tax riots in London
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BBC Radioís newsflash of Margaret Thatcherís resignation
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John Major gets on his soapbox
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Labour in triumphant mood at the Sheffield Rally
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Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail
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1992: Major soapbox
John Major on his soapbox


1992: Sun frontpage
Sun frontpage
What they spent
Conservatives
£10.1m
Labour
£7.1m
Lib Dems
£2.1m

If I could summon up all the authority of this office, I would put it into the single warning - the United Kingdom is in danger
John Major

We canít go on with a government that has allowed important parts of the National Health Service to become dependent on fund-raising by charities
Neil Kinnock

The day after Chancellor Norman Lamont delivered a tax-cutting Budget, John Major announced the 1992 general election would be on 9 April.

Tax was a key theme of the election and one with which the Tories hoped they could clobber Labour.

To that extent it was a negative campaign - with the Tories liberally costing Labour's policy commitments as a £37.9bn tax hike - while in reply Labour campaign posters called a caped Norman Lamont "Vatman".

The Tory campaign under the direction of party chairman Chris Patten focused on hammering Labour over tax - and on the personality of John Major.

The prime minister - who after a slow start found his campaigning feet when he reverted to using a soapbox to address crowds in the street - made much of his Brixton roots, most memorably in a election broadcast.

But for Labour its highest profile election broadcast backfired. Focusing on NHS waiting lists under the Tories, the party dramatised the case of a real child waiting for an ear operation.

The message that only the rich received access to high quality health care under the Tories was lost as a row broke out over the details of the case, which went down in political history as the Battle of Jenniferís Ear.

Tax and health aside, proportional representation grew in importance as a campaign issue as the polls showed a hung parliament was a distinct possibility.

The Liberal Democrats were clear that delivering proportional representation was the price of their support should Labour or the Conservatives request it.

The Tories rejected any suggestions of a deal but as the weeks passed Labour looked to be opening up the possibility of negotiations with the Lib Dems - sending a confusing message to the voters at exactly the wrong time.

As the campaign drew to a close, nearly four out of five of the polls conducted since John Major had fired the starting gun gave Labour a slight lead, making a narrow victory look quite likely.

With just a few days to go, Neil Kinnock let his enthusiasm run away with him at the party's final big rally in Sheffield, striking an awkward note that jarred with many voters.