Tories In Turmoil: Two Days Of Tory Trauma

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The Independent Online

Mid-morning: Lord Cranborne telephones William Hague to confess that he has been negotiating behind the Tory leader's back.

Lunchtime: Cranborne meets with Tory front bench peers and secures their support.

3pm: Hague "reveals" Tony Blair's deal with Cranborne at Prime Minister's question time but it backfires on the Tory leader.

5.30pm: Hague calls for loyalty from the Tory peers, but they back Cranborne by four to one after a two-hour meeting.

6.30pm: Hague sacks Cranborne during a one-hour meeting.

7.30pm: Cranborne holds a press conference. "I behaved outrageously.. but I would do the same again," he says.


8.10am: Hague on the ropes on BBC Radio Four Today programme after Tory MP Alan Clark says it was a "serious situation".

10.30am: Lord Fraser, Lord Cranborne's deputy, confirms that he has resigned from the front bench, followed by three other frontbenchers.

11.02am: Hague appoints Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish as the new deputy leader of the Opposition in the Lords and Lord Henley as new chief whip.

12pm: Hague sends a letter to Blair warning that the deal will not stop Tory guerrilla warfare.

2pm: In Committee Room 4 of the House, Lord Strathclyde makes an appeal for loyalty to a packed meeting of Tory hereditary peers.

2.27pm: Three other Opposition front bench spokesmen in the Lords quit - Lord Bowness, Lord Pilkington and the Earl of Home, the son of the former prime minister Alec Douglas-Home.

3.30pm: Lord Strathclyde in his first speech as Opposition leader in the Lords, says the Tories will lick their wounds but return 'Hydra-like".

3.44pm: Baroness Strange, hereditary peer, confirms she has quit the Tory Party for the cross benches.