Letter: An exceptional leader for exceptional times

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a losing participant in the now historic by-election in Newbury, whose voters earned the distinction of having spoken loud and clear for England, I urge the Government to pay heed to the true extent and depth of feeling.

The Cabinet will be making a grave mistake if it concludes that by making a scapegoat of Norman Lamont it will pacify the British public. The causes underlying the Conservative collapse are much deeper.

The resentment felt by the voters of Newbury was not based solely upon the incompetence of the Government, but on its attitude of arrogant disregard for the wishes of the people of our country to be consulted by referendum on matters concerning the constitution.

There was also a feeling of contempt, for example, of ministers who appeared ready to shield themselves by allowing innocent men to go to jail in the Matrix Churchill affair. In Newbury, there was an overwhelming feeling of distrust, and even active dislike, of conservatism.

By voting Liberal Democrat, Conservative supporters clearly intended to convey a message requiring neither a scapegoat nor a reshuffle but a major government overhaul and a return to leadership and decisive policies from the Conservative Party.

It would be exceptional to recall 'Maggie' as Prime Minister from the Lords. But these are exceptional times. She could certainly provide what the Tories need, even on a bridging basis.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN BROWNE

Freshford,

Avon

11 May

The writer was Conservative MP for Winchester (1979-92).

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