Europhile Tory MP faces deselection

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The Independent Online

A leading pro-Europe Tory MP is facing deselection by his constituency party next month because of his support for the euro.

A leading pro-Europe Tory MP is facing deselection by his constituency party next month because of his support for the euro.

Ian Taylor, MP for Esher and Walton, will have to attend an extraordinary general meeting of his Conservative Association following objections from members to his pro-single currency views and his membership of the Government-backed Britain in Europe group.

The association meeting on 4 December will represent the first time that any pro-Europe Tory has faced a real possibility of deselection because of his stance on the issue.

Mr Taylor, who has represented the seat since 1987, was a junior trade and industry minister under John Major but resigned from the Opposition frontbench in 1997 and has become increasingly isolated in the party because of his views on Europe.

Despite his reselection last December, opponents in the local association raised a petition complaining of "his repeated rejection of Conservative Party policy on Europe" and demanding another candidate.

Last night, Mr Taylor vowed to fight deselection. "Our party and the leader have consistently reaffirmed that on the European question, where opinions are divided and strongly held right across the country, backbenchers have a free vote and are entitled to express their views," he said.

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