It’s open warfare at the Times between two leading lights on the right – the newspaper’s former Comment Editor Tim Montgomerie and longtime columnist Matthew Parris, who held no punches in his Saturday column in the paper:

‘My fellow columnist Tim Montgomerie could not have been more wrong when he wrote in yesterday’s Times Red Box blog that “Ukip voters don’t believe that the Tory leader is serious about the referendum”. The “let’s-get-out-now” brigade in British politics have a very different fear. They fear that Mr Cameron would indeed hold his referendum and win it.’

Montgomerie took to Twitter the same day to dismiss Parris as backward looking – and he pushed Charles Moore’s column in a rival newspaper, which happened to disagree with almost every word the former MP had written. After a brief flirtation with the social network, Parris made a mysterious exit from Twitter, a departure that happened to coincide with Montgomerie moving on as his editor. So, there was no comeback there.

Sign up to our newsletters

But the row was not over yet. Montgomerie gamely kept up the spat, writing in Monday’s Times:

‘Some think (yes, Matthew Parris, I’m looking at you) that the Tory Right wants to drag David Cameron away from the mainstream. In fact the opposite is true. If anyone is in danger of being isolated from Conservative voters it is the PM.’

Over to Matthew Parris. Who knew that the future of the British right could invoke such passionate argument between chums?

Tags: Conservatives, Matthew Parris, The Times, Tim Montgomerie, Times, Tory wars