Trio tipped as Cabinet 'bastards'

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Indy Politics
JOHN REDWOOD yesterday brushed aside the possibility that John Major was referring to him when he spoke about three of his Cabinet colleagues as 'bastards'. The Secretary of State for Wales said: 'It's a very friendly Cabinet.'

The Prime Minister will sit down with the 'bastards' on Thursday when he chairs the last meeting of the Cabinet before the summer break.

Mr Major did not name the trio, but it is thought they are three known opponents of Euro-federalism: Michael Howard, the Home Secretary; Peter Lilley, Secretary of State for Social Security; and Michael Portillo, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Mr Howard, 52, has made no secret of his antipathy to the Euro-federalism in the Maastricht treaty. As Secretary of State for Employment, he opposed the Social Chapter.

Peter Lilley, 49, and Michael Portillo, 40, are former leading lights of the No Turning Back group of Thatcherite Tory MPs. They both caused an outcry when they lunched with Baroness Thatcher at the height of her campaign against the Maastricht Bill. Mr Portillo became further embroiled in controversy when he had lunch with Bryan Gould, a leading Labour anti-Maastricht MP.

Mr Redwood, 41, is also an undiluted Thatcherite. However, as he only joined the Cabinet in May, it is unlikely Mr Major had him in mind.