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
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all