Cameron Accused over 'Plot to Merge'

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Walters, Brendan Carlin

DAVID CAMERON faced a growing revolt last night over accusations of secret moves to merge the Conservatives with the Liberal Democrats.

Rebel Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said Tories are furious at what he called 'a Cabinet plot' to forge closer links with the Lib Dems.

In a direct challenge to the Prime Minister's authority, he said: 'It should be remembered the future of our country and party is more important than any one person who happens to reside in No 10. The vast majority of Conservative members believe in retaining the traditions of the Tory Party. This debate must be held in the open.'

Mr Pritchard, secretary of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs, vowed last night that he would not be silenced - even if Tory chiefs threatened to throw him out of the party. He spoke out after former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson criticised Mr Cameron for being 'very foolish' and dismissed the work of Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister's image guru and director of strategy at No 10. …