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Letter: Tory poll mystery

Sir: As one who has supported the cause of a united Europe since the initial Schuman plan produced the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, I was interested to read that Michael Portillo recognises the intentions of the "founding fathers" of the European movement ("Portillo calls for a caring Thatcherism", 18 September).

But for him to go on to say that we are now in danger of achieving the very opposite of those intentions by the "tensions, conflicts and rivalries" they will produce, strikes me as tendentious, coming from an experienced politician. How many great political objectives have been realised without such battles? It is better for these matters to be settled in a debating chamber rather than by military means. That was the true intention of the founding fathers.

What makes Mr Portillo's reasoning all the more strange is that he speaks as one who presumably hopes to see the Conservative Party united. Does he think that will not be possible after the "tensions, conflicts and rivalries" that have torn his party apart?


Frome, Somerset