Maastricht rebel deposed from 1922 executive

MODERATE TORY MPs succeeded in deposing only one of their selected targets in last night's key elections for the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee.

Sir George Gardiner, chairman of the right-wing 92 Group, was replaced by David Evans, who is at least as right-wing, but who remained loyal to John Major during the Maastricht crisis.

A campaign to rout those who persistently delayed the progress of the Maastricht Bill largely failed, however, while the result leaves the overall political make-up of the executive unchanged. As Andrew Mackay, the Government whip who announced the result, put it: 'The Tory party likes the status quo, obviously.'

Four Maastricht rebels who successfully repelled the attempted coup were Sir Rhodes Boyson (Brent North), Sir Ivan Lawrence (Burton), John Townend (Bridlington) and James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth).

They and Sir George had been targeted by the Mainstream group, a coalition of left-wing MPs, pro-Europeans and a few right-wingers, who sought to turn the contests into a test of loyalty to the Prime Minister.

Mr Evans, the MP for Welwyn & Hatfield, said that the Maastricht revolt was the reason for Sir George's defeat. 'The party has given a message that we want loyalty,' he said. 'We have got to pull together. We have got to be totally loyal to (the Prime Minister) at the same time.'

Mr Pawsey said the election showed that there had been 'an adjustment, not a purge'.

Sir Rhodes said that the Mainstream group had indulged in a witch-hunt, but the message for the Prime Minister was that 'the basis of the party is right of centre and the country is right of centre. They are suspicious of Europe.'

While the blunt-speaking Mr Evans was scrupulously loyal to Mr Major during the Maastricht revolts, he is, none the less, a populist right- winger and 92 Group member. His replacement of Sir George means that the 12-strong executive remains predominantly right-wing.

Mr Evans insisted last night that he would tell the Prime Minister when the Government was not 'doing or saying the right thing'.

While there was intense satisfaction in Government circles about the removal of Sir George, in terms of future problems that might face Mr Major, he is not guaranteed an easy ride.

Several executive members who agreed to stand for re-election under the Mainstream 'slate' of candidates, are also members of the 92 Group. Alongside their pledged loyalty to the Prime Minister they will expect strict adherence to right-wing principles, such as low taxation and public spending cuts.

A challenge by the right- winger Bob Dunn, MP for Dartford, for the joint-chairmanship also failed.

The committee's officers for the coming year are: chairman: Sir Marcus Fox; vice-chairmen: Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith and Dame Jill Knight; treasurer: Sir Giles Shaw; secretaries: Sir John Hannam and Sir Peter Hordern.

Executive: Sir Rhodes Boyson, Robert Dunn, Sir Anthony Durant, David Evans, Sir Anthony Grant, Sir Terence Higgins, Sir Ivan Lawrence, Sir Michael Neubert, James Pawsey, Marion Roe, Sir Donald Thompson and John Townend.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine