Leader of The Opposition
Heath's leadership of the Conservative Party looked increasingly in doubt. Thatcher was not initially seen as the obvious replacement, but she eventually became the main challenger, promising a fresh start. Her main support came from the parliamentary 1922 Committee and The Spectator. She defeated Heath on the first ballot and he resigned the leadership. In the second ballot she defeated Whitelaw, Heath's preferred successor. Thatcher became Conservative Party leader and Leader of the Opposition on 11 February 1975; she appointed Whitelaw as her deputy.