The leadership election of 1981 for the Conservatives was held after the incumbent Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher suffered a health scare and resigned. It resulted in a landslide win for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Robert George Grosvenor.
Start of the ElectionEdit
Grosvenor was nominated for the election by the Foreign Secretary David Keenan Berk and backbench MP Dick von Sternberg. After these nominations he accepted the offer. Meanwhile Ian Frost the Under Secretary for Transport and Benjamin Walker the Defence Secretary nominated Vincent Garton, the Secretary of State for Education and Science for Party Leader. Garton accepted.
Robert Grosvenor ran on a campaign of promoting Thatcherite policies and keeping unemployment and inflation low. He garnered a lot of support from the Thatcher wing of the party and even the Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe. He was also endorsed by the Daily Mail and several other media outlets.
Vincent Garton ran on a campaign of working with other parties whilst maintaining a broad Conservative stance. The media dubbed him the "wet" candidate and even though he campaigned vigourously, it was not enough to outflank the Daily Mail's powerful endorsement or the scrutiny of the BBC.
The results were delivered by the 1922 committee
- Vincent Thaddeus Garton - 65 votes - 20% of the vote
- Robert George Grosvenor - 274 votes - 80% of the vote
Grosvenor was made Leader and kissed hands with Her Majesty and accepted the commission to form a government. Garton conceded defeat.