The Government in Crisis: Officials talk publicly of grassroots fears: Tory activists are uneasy about the infighting. Martin Whitfield reports
Wednesday 28 October 1992
TORY constituency chairmen are now expressing public concern over the crisis within the party.
In private, they are heavily critical of John Major's handling of the Maastricht rebellion. They also stress the need for urgent initiatives to deal with the recession. In public, they are now going beyond coded messages that the leadership must take a firmer grip.
Tricia Rose, chairman of St Albans constituency association, whose MP is Peter Lilley, the Secretary of State for Social Security, said its members were split over Maastricht. 'What people are saying, and I would agree with them, is that this is not an issue about which to call a general election. We will support our government all the way - but do not threaten to call people's bluff in the process. We don't want a Ted Heath exercise,' she said, in reference to the Tory defeat in 1974 when Mr Heath went to the country after a miners' strike.
David Crossman, from Michael Heseltine's Henley constituency, said party members were demanding a clarification of economic policy following the withdrawal from the exchange rate mechanism. 'People are extremely worried by what is going on. They want to see a clearer policy lead.'
Others confirmed a general view that a visible improvement in the economy would calm frayed party nerves. John Jones, chairman of the Oxford West and Abingdon consitutency of John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, said: 'John Major has got the best possible deal on Maastricht. It has been a hell of a hot potato for him and has not been helped by all the speculation.'
Robert Yeudall, chairman of the Folkestone consitutency of Michael Howard, the Secretary of State for the Environment, said opponents of closer links with Europe did not find much support there: 'In Folkestone, we are so close to the Continent that we feel we are part of it.'
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: 'All passengers' under investigation, police say
Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client specialises in creati...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Private Cli...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residential...
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...