Only six months ago they were elected on a Conservative manifesto of which ratification of the Maastricht treaty was a central plank. If they then did not believe in the treaty why did they stand as candidates under the Conservative banner? To claim that it was not an election issue, as they now do, is insulting to their constituency electorates, and their position now can only be described as thoroughly dishonest.
John Major is absolutely correct to confront these politicians, to expose their hypocrisy as well as to draw attention to the importance of this treaty. All of the Euro- sceptics are presumably in favour of the single market, yet they fail to see the intimate connection between the success of that market and the framework the treaty provides, compromised as Britain is by our special 'opt-outs'.
The only honest route for the Euro-sceptics, should they actually vote against the Government, is to resign their seats and stand as independent candidates in the ensuing by-elections. If re-elected, their position would then be both consistent and honourable. The Prime Minister has at least got one thing right, and not least because future economic prosperity in the UK depends overwhelmingly on the single market and its associated treaty.