Major not Conservative enough, Thatcher says

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Chief Political Correspondent

The former Tory leader Baroness Thatcher has accused John Major of failing to be "Conservative enough" in a renewed attack on his leadership on Europe, taxation and defence. She fuels growing Tory right-wing pressure for a clearer commitment by the Prime Minister to resist a single European currency.

Michael Portillo, one of her admirers in the Cabinet, yesterday hinted that the Tory election manifesto will leave open the option of a single currency but could offer a referendum.

Lady Thatcher's remarks in a BBC Television interview with Sir David Frost are likely to be dismissed by Mr Major's allies as an attempt to publicise the second volume of her memoirs. But she will strengthen calls for more right-wing policies. .

The voters are disillusioned with the Government particularly for increasing taxation, she said, and called for Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, to reverse the cut in mortgage tax relief to 15 per cent and to raise it to a "much higher figure" than the current limit of pounds 25,000.

With her influence waning, the attack will not trouble the Tory leadership. But Mr Major's allies are concerned about the continued rumblings of a leadership challenge.Mr Portillo heaped praise on Norman Lamont, the former Chancellor, who last week refused to rule himself out as a leadership challenger.

Meeting of minds, page 8