Maastricht rebels fight '1922 plot'

RIGHT-WING members of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee executive are preparing to fight back against a plot to replace them with John Major loyalists during revolts on the Maastricht Bill, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Sir George Gardiner (Reigate) and Sir Ivan Lawrence (Burton) both said they would resist moves to oust them. They and three further Maastricht rebels have been targeted by a 60-strong group of MPs organised by Peter Temple-Morris, a stalwart of the centre-left 'Lollard' grouping, and Ray Whitney, a member of the right-wing '92 group. The others are John Townend (Bridlington), James Pawsey (Rugby & Kenilworth) and Sir Rhodes Boyson (Brent North), who likewise said he would probably stand.

Following a dinner on Monday night, a committee will now draw up a slate of 'loyalist' candidates to fight the elections on 25 November.

The official aim of the group is to ensure the 1922 executive represents the 'broad church', or as one put it, make it 'more objectively sensible'. Last year, the Lollards failed spectactularly to organise against the right.