5 JUNE 1971, Page 7

Bounced, out of court

It was very noticeable how last week the mood of the marketeers moved daily, almost hourly, from the euphoric and ecstatic heights they achieved on Monday, when Mr Heath rose to address the Commons after his `historic' encounter with M Pompidou. The move, needless to say, has been uni- formly downhill. On Monday evening the marketeers of Fleet Street were gleefully adding up their gambling wins and eager to bet against all comers that we'd be in by the end of next month. They reckoned with- out the House of Commons. It may yet be realised that Mr Heath, too, reckoned with- out the House of Commons.

Our MPS, pro-marketeers and anti-mar- keteers alike, started to close ranks: they were not to be rushed, they were not to be conned, they were not to be bounced into Europe. In the course of the week, the Government strategy looks as if it has been totally changed, and changed against its will at that (or, more accurately, against Mr Heath's will). It doesn't really look likely now that the rush, the bounce, will oe attempted. When the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Harry Legge-Bourke, makes clear that he will not be rushed, the Con- servative party managers cannot but take very serious note indeed. There are several other senior back-benchers, some of them moderately pro-Market and all of them occupying moderate and central positions in the party, who have been openly saying that they would be unable to support the Government if it tried a rush or a bounce job.