Major claims economy is on road to recovery

FORMER Prime Minister John Major said yesterday that the economy is showing "green shoots" of recovery and that the worst of the recession is over.

"Recovery begins from the darkest moment. I'm not certain, but I think we have passed the darkest moment," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

Major cited increased employment, improved industrial output and a rising stock market as evidence that an economic revival is underway: "My guess - and this is something a minister can't say but I can - is that in due course we will find that we passed the bottom."

He also dismissed speculation surrounding a challenge to David Cameron's leadership, despite reports that 14 backbench MPs have formally requested a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.

"I would have thought if the Conservative Party has learned anything in the last 20 years, it is that regicide is not a good idea."

Major is retired from frontline politics but has been willing to make public interventions when required, often with the backing of Downing Street.

He was speaking on the 20th anniversary of Black Wednesday - the day Britain left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.