ON THIS DAY 1994: Hard line on Back to Basics

Archive front page: EDP 15 Feb 1994. Photo: Library

Archive front page: EDP 15 Feb 1994. Photo: Library - Credit: Archant

As part of a new daily online series we look back on what was making the news on this day in Norfolk. Today, we look at the Eastern Daily Press front page of Febraury 15, 1994.

John Major was adamant yesterday that his Back to Basics campaign was 'here to stay' despite fresh scandal embroling the Tories, this time involving MP Hartley Booth and his relationship with a 22-year-old researcher. As Downing Street insisted that Back to Basics carried 'a moral dimension' but was 'not a matter of personal sexual morality, nor a moral crusade,' Mr Booth made clear last night that he was not quitting as MP for Finchley.

Mr Booth, who has resigned as a Parlimentary Private Secretary, confirmed he was happily together with his Doctor wife, Adrianne, and told the Press Association; 'Frankly I am not resigning as an MP.'

Asked if he had over considered resigning as a Member of Parliament over the disclosures about this relationship with Emily Barr, a former art model, he said: ' I don't think I am going to make any more comment. The main point is that my constituency association is right behind me. 'I would rather not say more. I am making no further statements and not giving any interviews.'

Earlier yesterday Mr Booth, a 47-year-old barrister and father of three, was seen in public with his wife for the first time since the disclosure of his kiss and cuddle friendship with Miss Barr, a second year undergraduate at the Courtauld Institute of Art in central London.

A member of staff at the institute said Miss Barr had gone inot hiding.

Mr Booth, seen arriving at his Norfolk farmhouse, said he and his wife were 'happily together again'. He denied that his wife was suffering from a serious illness, a claim made in a Sunday newspaper.

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'She is quite well. She was ill last year with heart trouble but it seemms to be better now'.

Meanwhile, as Mr Major came under renewed pressure to jettison his beleaguered Back to Basics campaign, Downing Street said the policy was 'here to stay'.

Booth warns fellow MPs

Love-scandal MP Hartley Booth yesterday issued a warning to other Mps faced with the attentions of pretty young women: 'Be careful.'

And the Norfolk-based MP added later: 'It's worse than that. It isn't just a matter of being careful - just don't do it.'

Mr Booth resigned from the Government on Sunday after revelations about his friendship with Emily Barr, a 22-year-old Commons researcher whose father is a lecturer at the University of East Anglia. Speaking yesterday outside his Elizabethan farmhouse in Barnham Broom, MR Booth told the EDP he had learned lessons from the affair.

The Methodist lay preacher has denied any sexual impropriety.

He and his wife Adrianne, a former Norwich GP, visited their home yesterday and spoke briefly to reporters. Mrs Booth had been coping well.

She declined to answer questions about herhusband's friendship with Miss Barr, a former nude model for art students and a former pupil at the Norwich High School for Girls.

Earlier, Mr Booth, said that his marriage had never been in danger.

'We are very happily married. My main concern now is for my wife and children . We are happily together,' he said.

'I have resigned and my work is now making sure that I look after all the intrests of my constituents.'