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Lawmaker’s Departure Cuts Conservative Majority To Wafer-Thin 2

February 23, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ The governing Conservatives’ majority in the House of Commons fell from a narrow three to a wafer-thin two on Thursday night.

The fall was caused by the decision of rebel Conservative lawmaker Peter Thurnham to quit the party following a 70-minute private meeting with Prime Minister John Major.

Thurnham, who was first elected as a legislator in 1983, has expressed concern in recent days about ``falling values and standards of public service″ in the party.

In power continuously since 1979, the Conservatives have faced growing criticism over accusations of financial and sexual scandals and of letting state-run services like the National Health Service decline.

Thurnham did not indicate whether he planned to join another party. His decision to quit was announced by Norman Critchley, chairman of the local Bolton Northeast Conservative Association in northwest England, the area Thurnham represents in the Commons.

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