Tebbit's comments on Smith provoke anger

Lord Tebbit provoked Labour anger yesterday as he described John Smith as a not 'terribly good politician' who 'often got things quite badly wrong', writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The former Tory chairman told BBC 1's Frost on Sunday programme that Mr Smith was a decent, honest and straightforward man, but he had agreed with the Government on almost every occasion when the Government was wrong, such as over the exchange rate mechanism.

The former Labour leader 'would have liked to have gone further in the wrong direction'. Lord Tebbit said.

David Blunkett, the Labour Party chairman, said: 'Lord Tebbit is entitled to his opinion, but I think the view of the public is slightly more relevant to the Labour Party than those of an ex- Tory bruiser.'

Lord Tebbit added that the odds were on John Major leading the Tories into the next election. Michael Heseltine, he said, would not make a particularly good prime minister because he had 'considerable difficulties in paying sufficient attention to a sufficient number of things at once'.

Sir Edward Heath, the former prime minister, yesterday urged Mr Major to conduct a 'robust' Cabinet reshuffle.

Questioned on LWT's Crosstalk over the possible removal of Michael Portillo, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Edward declined to name names. But he said: 'It is very clear now who are the people who have caused so much trouble to our party and also the way they have mishandled policy.'

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments