The Maastricht rebels

Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group has put out a flier:

In November 1992 26 Conservative Members of Parliament defied the Government on the Paving Vote for the Maastricht Treaty. Maastricht provided the framework for European government and the establishment of the eurozone. Those who defied their own government set-out the dangers that Maastricht posed for this country and the rest of Europe; the tragic implications of which are being played out today. The division was lost by only three votes. This was one of the most important votes in the House of Commons in the twentieth century.

For those needing to come up to speed on this, these days were the antecedents to the dark days of 1997-2010.   There is a dinner to commemorate this event – details below.  A bit out of my reach but if you’re in London dot dot dot.

The Maastrict Rebellion was a major event in the life of John Major’s troubled second term as Prime Minister (1992–1997). Major’s party had a small majority, thus giving the relatively small number of rebels disproportionate influence: for example, there were 22 rebels on the second reading of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in May 1992, and the government’s majority at the time was only 18.

The rebellion (as Major later complained in his memoirs) had the support of the former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher and Lord Tebbit. Thatcher declared in a speech in the House of Lords that she “could never have signed that Treaty” and that it was “a recipe for national suicide”.

The tension was immense:

At the height of the rebellion was the 1993 Christchurch by-election, where a Conservative majority of 23,000 was turned into a Liberal Democrat majority of 16,000. Conservative showings in opinion polls were as low as 23 points in the opinion polls. John Major threatened the rebels with a general election (despite one only being held a year earlier), which would probably have meant annihilation for the Conservative Party and a landslide victory for Labour, now being led by John Smith.

It was an enormously tense time. The Labour Party was bringing in heart attack victims and MPs who had just had brain surgery, the stretcher vote, to vote in an effort to bring the government down. The loyalists and rebels in the Conservative party also brought in their own stretcher vote; for example Bill Cash organised for one MP (Bill Walker) who was seriously ill to fly from Scotland secretly, then hid him at the rebels’ headquarters in Great College Street, before, with Labour connivance, hiding him in the family room of the Commons so that the Conservative whips would not know; the government consequently lost a vote.

It shows that there are most certainly two Conservative Parties in one, of which Heath, Major, Cameron, Osborne and Clarke are noted quislings to the nation.   In fact, their treasonous policies cannot be called conservative in the least and I, for one, would never vote for them.

However, I might well vote for the current day rebels, numbering 50, were one of them in my constituency, which none are.

It takes a lot to vote against one’s peers when you feel those peers are doing great wrong and are not honouring the charter, so to speak.   In the U.S., it would be voting against the Republicans for not upholding the Constitution.   Those Maastricht rebels might be seen as traitors to their party but loyalists to conservatism and the nation.   I’d prefer the latter.

………..

To purchase your ticket visit:
www.brugesgroup.com/meetings
Or call Robert Oulds on 020 7287 4414

Alternatively you can click here for a form to book your place

THE 20th ANNIVERSARY DINNER
Will be held on Monday, 19th November 2012 from 6.30pm.
This is a unique opportunity to celebrate with the Maastricht Rebels all of whom have been invited to attend. Bill Cash MP and Barry Legg will give a talk at this event; and there will be a vote of thanks to the Maastricht Rebels from Mark Pritchard MP.

LOCATION:
The dinner will be held at a prestigious venue close to Berkeley Square in the heart of Mayfair in the Ballroom of: The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, Mayfair, London W1J 5JD

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