Major's maverick Gardiner defects to Referendum Party

Sir George Gardiner, the right-wing MP de-selected by the Conservatives, yesterday delivered another blow to John Major by defecting to Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party.

Mightier than the sword

He holds no government position or party office. He's no longer even a Tory. But Lord McAlpine's book is spreading fear in Westminster. By Donald Macintyre

Letter: The party won't go quietly

Andy Beckett's article on the Referendum Party carries the aroma of wish fulfilment ("Not even Jim can fix it now", 23 February). The only poll he mentions is by MORI, taken over eight months ago when the party had barely formed. It showed 0.5 per cent support. The poll published last week by James Capel was taken from 2,000 people nationwide who voted Conservative in 1992; 20 per cent said they were likely or certain to vote for the Referendum Party. A poll carried out in February by Harris for the Wirral South by-election showed 9 per cent support.

Labour has a 20-point lead over the Tories

Labour has a 20-point lead over the Tories according to an opinion poll published today.

Not even Jim can fix it now

With ambitious wannabes managing its lacklustre campaign, Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party now has more to do with personal gain than political idealism

Obituary: Michael Goldsmith

Michael Goldsmith was one of the post-war generation of British aircraft engineers who rose to top management and laid the foundations of Britain's current pre-eminence in commercial aerospace. Airbus is today a British Aerospace success story, but it might have been otherwise without Goldsmith.

Leading article: Bad luck, Jimmy, but stay safe!

Money can't buy you love - but we had thought it could probably buy you votes. If so, James Goldsmith's pounds 20m should be able to buy a very large number of votes indeed. So we should be greatly cheered by the Gallup poll last week which gave his Referendum Party just 1 per cent of support. No amount of billboards or extravagantly paid staff have seduced the electorate; money, Goldsmith has learnt, cannot even buy you inflated poll ratings. When, last autumn, he asked MORI to keep re-wording the question until it yielded a better response, the pollsters politely declined, and terminated the contract.

Referendum candidate gives way to Clark

Robin Birley, the stepson of Sir James Goldsmith, last night stood down as the Referendum Party candidate for Kensington & Chelsea following the selection last Thursday of the Euro-sceptic former minister, Alan Clark, to stand for the Conservatives in the constituency.

Shooters target Referendum Party

Britain's shooting fraternity is preparing to back Sir James Goldsmith's campaign for a European referendum, writes Ian Burrell. Disillusioned with the Government's insistence on introducing new firearms restrictions and Labour's promises of even more swingeing gun laws if it comes to power, the shooters are opting for a protest vote.

Goldsmith v Heath in battle of the old devils

A political battle of titanic proportions broke out yesterday as the billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith squared up to Sir Edward Heath over Europe.

Heath faces former aide

The former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, will face the acute embarrassment of encountering one of his former economic advisers as an opponent at the general election.

Goldsmith party is scorned as amateur

Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party is run by a group of amateurs who have mustered the support of only about 15,000 people nationwide, a defector from the party said yesterday.

'Rumpole' star joins anti-EU campaign

The UK Independence Party has attracted its biggest celebrity supporter so far in Leo McKern, star of Rumpole of the Bailey.

Labour MPs' by-election ploy may drive Major into minority

John Major could be heading a minority government within a month as Labour backbenchers prepare for a Christmas coup which could lead to a by-election defeat for the Conservatives.

Jump up, shout and scream

A hip new generation of gospel acts is packing out British venues. Geoff Brown gets on his good foot and gets down for Jesus
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