Tebbit fires broadside at Tories over Europe

LORD TEBBIT yesterday fired a broadside across the Government's strategy for the European elections with a ferocious attack on the post-Maastricht Union, writes Donald Macintyre.

The former party chairman told the Bruges Group that it was time for his 'friends' in the Tory Party to make it clear that since Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech in 1988, the 'Community had been set on a path to disaster'.

His speech was made in London as Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, called in Paris for the rest of Europe to follow Britain's example by deregulating its labour market - a move which he said lay behind the 250,000 fall in unemployment during 1993.

The aggressive denunciation by Lord Tebbit of the EU for being over-regulated, ineffective as an instrument of foreign policy and still bristling with trade barriers, was coupled with a call for the outright abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Lord Tebbit's Thatcherite line was predictable, but its timing underlines the conflicting cross-currents within the party which Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, is having to tackle as chairman of the small group drawing up the manifesto for the European elections.

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