Tebbit questions Major's honour

LORD TEBBIT yesterday stepped up his campaign for a Maastricht referendum as he questioned the honour of John Major and Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, in their handling of Britain's ratification of the treaty following its initial rejection by Denmark.

Until the weekend, ministers had undertaken that if the Danish people said 'no' a second time, that meant 'no' for Britain too, Lord Tebbit said. 'Now it seems that if they say 'yes' it means 'yes' and that if they say 'no' it means 'yes'.'

He said that at December's Edinburgh summit Mr Hurd had promised that if the Danes voted 'no' again the two countries would unite in resisting further moves to economic and political union.

Mr Hurd was reported on Sunday as saying that if the Danes voted 'no' again, there would be 'a crisis affecting Denmark's position in the Community'. He was said to have added: 'I am not saying we would not take part in any further arrangement. We can't obviously say that we are not going to sign any European treaty.'

Lord Tebbit said: 'What is Mr Hurd saying? If his words have any meaning they can mean only that the pledge he gave at Edinburgh, the pledges of the Prime Minister too, were not matters of honour, just words to help get the Maastricht Bill through Parliament. I have to say that what he is reported to have said covers this government with shame.'

He said the Treaty was a 'huge step' towards changing a self-governing state into a province of the European union. 'And this they (government ministers) tell you is not a matter for you (the British public). It is not even a matter for . . . members of Parliament. It is just a matter for the party whips.'

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