Sir: Andrew Marr asserts ("Must Major drown in dirty blue water?", 10 October) that "it is hard to argue that Major is a harsh, punitive, indecent or immoral politician as compared with Margaret Thatcher, whom Howarth happily supported". However, Margaret Thatcher, powerful leader that she was, had to push her radical policies against the arguments of a vocal and articulate array of moderates such as Howe, Hurd, Clarke and the two Pattens, who were less easily scuttled than the aptly named "wets".
In comparison, John Major, although a decent man, is up against a formidable group of right-wingers, such as Portillo, Redwood, Lilley and the loyal, respectable Howard, who are fully conscious of their relative power. He is the nice lad who is impressionable and has fallen in with the wrong crowd.
This, perhaps, was the true comparison Alan Howarth had to make before deciding to leave the party in which he had served as a minister.
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