Six Tory MPs most likely to be targeted by Labour or the Liberal Democrats

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The Independent Online
Peter Temple-Morris (Leominster), 57

Leading wet, chairman of the One Nation Macleod group of Tory MPs, to which Emma Nicholson belonged. He is openly critical of the Government for not moving further in the Northern Ireland peace process, but will stay and fight. "I have no intention whatsoever of going over. I have a very fundamental loyalty to my constituency. I cannot face kicking them in the teeth."

Hugh Dykes, (Harrow East) 56

Europhile and leading member of the European movement, even wears a tie and watch with flag of Europe, but oddly voted with Euro-sceptics against Government in defeat on fish quotas. On most people's list as MP most likely to defect over Europe, but said yesterday he would not do so. "I am a lifelong Conservative and intend to stay and fight for what I believe are the right policies."

Tim Rathbone, (Lewes) 62

A leading member of the One Nation Macleod group. A caring Tory who dared to raise unpopular causes, such as electoral reform, reform of the drugs laws, and shared Emma Nicholson's concern about post-Gulf war Iraq. Pro-European, and Liberals in past generations of the family, but said yesterday he would not defect. Will fight next election to defend One Nation principles in the Tory party.

Sir Keith Speed, (Ashford) 61

One Nation Tory, former minister, member of the Macleod group, claimed he was approached in 1981-82 to join the Liberals after he was sacked as a Navy minister by Thatcher, but told them he would stay to fight his corner. "I remember Iain Macleod saying to me, 'You never go to another party . . .' " He said he had not changed that view.

Robert Hicks, (Cornwall South East) 57

Dripping wet, former whip in Heath Government, never given a job by Thatcher; prime recruitment material by the opposition parties, but has announced he will be standing down at the next election, rather than following Emma Nicholson, in spite of sharing some of her views about the right-wing drift of the party.

George Walden, 59, (Buckingham)

Brainy maverick, seen as a wild card - announced his retirement from the Commons because of his general dissatisfaction with Parliament. Shows no sign of defecting but the Tory whips will be watching closely.