Public attack by Thatcher enrages Major

BY JOHN RENTOUL

Political Correspondent

John Major reacted furiously yesterday as Baroness Thatcher made her rift with him public by attacking his policy on Europe and saying "the country is moving rapidly in the wrong direction" in domestic affairs.

Mr Major was "not best pleased", said a Conservative Party source, with deliberate understatement. "He thinks it is a bit rich. He inherited the recession and the party split."

Lady Thatcher's comments came in a Sunday Times trailer for the serialisation of the second volume of her memoirs. In The Path to Power she describes Maastricht as "a treaty too far", and calls for the rolling back of European Union law. Rather than simply vetoing further changes, she wants the Government to pursue "every measure of obstruction and disruption open to us" to restore powers to the British parliament.

She describes the Government's policy on Europe as one of "compromise, sweep it under the carpet, leave it for another day, in the hope that the people of Britain will not notice what is happening to them, how the powers have been gradually slipping away".

Senior Conservatives rallied to Mr Major, playing down Lady Thatcher's well-known disappointment with her chosen successor, and pointing out that the Maastricht negotiations began under her premiership. But the amount of detail in her public criticism will intensify the Tories' civil war, especially in the sensitive run-up to next year's Inter-Governmental Conference to revise the Maastricht treaty.

Despite saying "I wanted to avoid appearing to undermine my successor", her book is bound to reopen the question of Mr Major's leadership. She says she is setting out her views and it is "for others to take the action required".

But Lord Archer, former Conservative Party deputy chairman, insisted yesterday: "One thing I do know is she does not want a leadership election."

Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, said on the BBC's On The Record: "If Margaret was in office now she would be complaining about people reminiscing and slightly rewriting what happened a few years ago, wanting us to look forward and concentrate on attacking the Labour Party and not each other."

Path to betrayal, page 2

Path to betrayal, page 2

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible