Major admits fears on Maastricht vote

JOHN MAJOR yesterday admitted how close Conservative anti-Europeans came last year to bringing down the Government over the creation of the European Union.

Appearing on the BBC's Election Call, the Prime Minister defended his use of a confidence motion to get the Maastricht legislation through the Commons.

''If we had lost that Maastricht treaty it would have inflicted massive domestic damage on the Government. Indeed I do not think the Government would have survived.'

As to whether he can survive a bad Euro-election result, he said the Government had cut inflation, unemployment and interest rates. 'I was elected to carry out a programme for five years and I have every intention of carrying out that programme and presenting the whole of my record . . . to the electorate at the next general election, whenever that may be.'

He was replying to Ken Williams, of Hereford, one of a number of angry callers, who told Mr Major: 'You have made a complete mess and you should go.'

Challenged as to whether there was a contradiction between statements on being 'at the heart of Europe' and the more recent 'multi-track' approach, Mr Major said he had expressly not meant accepting 'whatever might be the fashionable view of our European partners at any particular time'.