Tory warns Hague of electoral suicide

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The Independent Online
William Hague was warned yesterday that the Conservatives would lose the next election if they stuck to their current Eurosceptic line.

David Curry, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet over his leader's hostility to the single currency, told Alastair Stewart on GMTV's Sunday Programme: "You can appeal to the hard Tory vote, which is probably fairly Eurosceptic in its views. If you do that, no doubt you will consolidate that. But what you won't do is win an election, because every party has got to reach out beyond the core of its active committed members into ... the middle ground if it wishes to win elections."

Peter Temple-Morris, the pro-Europe MP who quit the Tory party last week, added to Mr Hague's woes, stating yesterday that he will support Tony Blair's policies in the Commons - although he will for the moment remain independent.

Mr Temple-Morris, who will sit alongside Labour backbenchers in the House, said he was "very sympathetic" to the Prime Minister and wants to be "part of the action".

Despite Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, telling constituency Labour Party members in Blackburn that the Conservative Party was "on the verge of an irrevocable split which threatens to keep it out of government for a generation", Mr Hague's line received a fulsome endorsement from John Redwood, the shadow Trade and Industry spokesman.

He told BBC television's On the Record that Mr Hague's line on Europe was a complete success. "I think he will exert a lot of influence over the party because he is clear and straightforward on these issues and he speaks for the overwhelming majority of party in the country," he said.

"They were aching for clarity on this European issue and they are extremely grateful and pleased that they now have a leader who is delivering it."