Politics: Hague's Euro speech deepens divide with Tory moderates
Thursday 21 May 1998
With Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine protesting most strongly against their party leader's line, that the single currency could provoke the kind of violence associated with Bosnia or Indonesia, Mr Hague mustered quick support from Sir Teddy Taylor and Lord Tebbit.
Sir Teddy, MP for Rochford and Southend East, said: "I think the time has come when people have to say we support the party and support the leader or go elsewhere."
But there is no question of the Tory moderates leaving the party to the likes of Sir Teddy - or a Eurosceptic leader.
Having said last Monday night that Mr Hague's language was "more extreme than even Mrs Thatcher used", Mr Heseltine told yesterday's BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We have been flirting with Euroscepticism now for two to three years. If you are not getting the slightest encouragement in the early flirtation, the prospects of the affair ... sound pretty remote to me."
The former deputy prime minister added: "The party has got 28 points in the opinion polls and there is a huge raft of Conservatives out there that used to be Conservatives and aren't. They have to be got back and getting them back involves having policies that appeal to a wide spectrum of constituencies and the electorate."
Lord Tebbit said of Mr Heseltine and his allies: "They observe it will be impossible for the Conservatives to win the election without the support of the minority of Europhiles.
"But they ignore the fact that it would be impossible to win that election on a programme which offends the vast majority of Conservatives who believe we have already gone too far into European integration and that to enter monetary union would be the end to self-government."
Enjoying all the fruits of that Tory rift, Mr Blair appeared to take a quiet delight in the more extreme line being taken by Mr Hague - a line that would marginalise him in Europe, and at last weekend's Birmingham summit of leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised countries.
He told Sir Teddy that the truth of the Fontainebleau speech was that Mr Hague had joined the likes of John Redwood, the Tory trade and Industry spokesman, against Mr Clarke - "and I think that is an interesting decision".
Later, he told another Tory Eurosceptic, Bernard Jenkin: "It is bizarre to claim that European Monetary Union is not supported by the countries joining it. So far as this country is concerned, we have made it clear it will be subject to a referendum. It would be very foolish of Conservative MPs to get themselves into the position of hoping that monetary union fails."
The Prime Minister then added that on the issue as a whole, the Tories had been wrong "at every single juncture".
Leading article, page 20
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Tesco in crisis: UK managing director among four executives suspended after exposure of accounting scandal
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks own nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Central Lon...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Business Studies needed for a ...
£11280 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Teaching a...
£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...