Maastricht rebels plan show of strength

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Indy Politics
TORY OPPONENTS of the Maastricht treaty are planning to force John Major to back down with a show of strength at the annual Conservative Party conference in Brighton, writes Colin Brown.

Leading campaigners are preparing to stir up opposition to ratification among the Tory grassroots by holding a series of rallies around the Tory constituencies through the summer in the run-up to the conference.

One of the leading Tory rebels said: 'The leadership is going to run smack into trouble at the conference. There is widespread opposition to the treaty within the party, and it is growing.'

The MPs are also planning a one-day seminar to decide their tactics at the home of one of the leading rebels immediately before the party conference. There are strong rumours that Lady Thatcher will support their campaign at a fringe meeting at the conference.

Today, Nicholas Ridley, who was made a life peer in the Dissolution Honours list, is to appear at a Bruges Group seminar to reaffirm the objections to economic and monetary union which led to his resignation from the Thatcher Cabinet.