'To repeat that mistake next June would be to embark upon a political suicide mission, with far-reaching consequences,' Sir Christopher Prout told the conference. In 1989 the left won control of the Strasbourg parliament after 10 years of domination by centre-right parties. British Conservatives lost a third of their seats to Labour, which now has 45 MEPs to the Tories' 32.
Sir Christopher told representatives they would only turn out the Conservative vote in June if they fought a 'united and positive' campaign. The elections should not be a re-run of the debate over Maastricht, they were not about 'Europe right or wrong' but about 'Europe right or left'.
Sir Christopher said the stakes would be even higher in 1994. The Maastricht agreement had given the parliament power to veto the appointment of the new commission president and all other commissioners. 'That means that both the membership of the new commission and the laws it promotes are bound to reflect the political balance of power in the new parliament.'