Heath attacks rebels' tactics

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The Independent Online
ANTI-MAASTRICHT Tories should either cease their filibustering or form their own party, Sir Edward Heath, the former Conservative prime minister, said yesterday, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

He went on to accuse Baroness Thatcher of inciting Tory Euro-rebels and of trying to influence them against the Government. John Major should reassert his authority by not being 'quite so nice' in his dealings with right-wingers.

Sir Edward said in a Channel 4 television interview that when he was Prime Minister, the anti-European wing of the party voiced their objections in the House with moderation and did not resort to voting down procedural motions in order to impede government business.

'They didn't try to get the policy killed by going on talking. The length of some of these speeches by the Euro-sceptics have been monstrous.'

There was 'no doubt' that Lady Thatcher had been inciting the rebels, he went on. 'We see Lord Tebbit in the lobby just by the entrance to the Chamber, grabbing people, trying to influence them. They are taken down to Lady Thatcher's room in the House of Lords where they are addressed and she tries to influence them against Maastricht and the Government.'

In a more subtle message, Michael Howard, Secretary of State for the Environment and one of the more Euro-sceptical ministers, told his Folkestone and Hythe constituency association that the party could unite on subsidiarity - the principle that decisions should be taken at national level wherever possible.