Lord Howe: 'Cameron is losing control of his party'

Former foreign secretary Lord Howe has claimed David Cameron is losing control of his party as the Conservatives' "long, nervous breakdown" over Europe continues.

Lord Howe, whose differences with Baroness Thatcher over Europe led to his resignation and triggered her downfall, said Mr Cameron had "opened a Pandora's box politically" through his plan to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the European Union.

Lord Howe waits in the Prince's Chamber to enter The House of Lords. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive/Press Association Images

In a strongly-worded attack he said the Tory leadership was "running scared" of its backbenchers and had allowed Euroscepticism to "infect the very soul of the party".

Writing in The Observer, Lord Howe said the row over the lack of legislation paving the way for the Prime Minister's referendum by 2017, which led to a total of 116 Tories opposing the Government's legislative programme, marked a "new, almost farcical, low" for the party.

Advertisement

PM tries to calm party activists

David Cameron has tried to smooth relations with Conservative activists, insisting he would never have anyone close to him who "sneered" at them. He emailed them after reports that a close ally dismissed some of them as "mad, swivel-eyed loons".