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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK

How the leaders came and went

William Hague is to quit as leader of the Conservative Party following his party's net gain at the 2001 general election of just a single seat since it went down to record-breaking landslide defeat in 1997.

BBC News Online brings you archive footage of the changes in Conservative Party leadership over the past quarter century.

Hague steps down

In a dramatic statement outside Conservative Central Office in Westminster, William Hague said he would stand down as soon as a successor had been chosen. "No man is indispensable. No man is more important than the party," he said.

 Click here to watch William Hague's resignation speech

Hague's 'clean slate'

Beating off competition from Ken Clarke and Michael Howard, William Hague became the youngest Tory leader at the age of 36. He pledged to hold "no grudges"-and said the party was starting with "a clean slate."

 Click here to watch a report on Hague's leadership victory from the BBC's Robin Oakley

'Time to get off the stage'

In June 1995, stung by criticism of his leadership, John Major took the unprecedented step for a British prime minister of resigning as head of his party, forcing a leadership vote. Although he won, the party failed to unite behind him and Mr Major stepped down after Labour swept to power in 1997.

 Click here to watch John Major's parting comments

Major takes over

John Major became Prime Minister after Mrs Thatcher failed to see off Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd in the first round of voting. He said his aim was to win the next general election - and he succeeded.

 Click here to watch John Major pay tribute to Mrs Thatcher

End of the Thatcher era

Margaret Thatcher ousted Edward Heath in 1975 - and she was brought down by a challenge from Michael Heseltine. It was an amazing turn of events after 11 years in Downing Street - and it paved the way for John Major in 1990.

 Click here to watch Margaret Thatcher's parting speech

Political roller coaster

The contest to lead the Conservative Party has been marked by drama and colour over the decades. In this report, Jeremy Vine looks at the race to succeed John Major - and traces the contests roots back to Edward Heath's bitter battle with Margaret Thatcher.

 Click here to watch Jeremy Vine's report

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