LONDON — Margaret Thatcher, battling to the end against closer European union, said Monday that she would never have signed the treaty negotiated by her successor, Prime Minister John Major.
"The voluntary alliance of 12 nations (the European Community) we joined is being gradually turned into a new political entity, a European superstate," Thatcher told the House of Lords.
She led a last-ditch attempt to frustrate a bill to ratify the Maastricht Treaty on European Union.
The treaty, which provides for shared foreign policy decisions, a common citizenship and moves toward a single currency, already has been endorsed by the 11 other European Community states.
Her renewed opposition was an added irritant for Major, who is at a historic low in opinion polls, mainly because of economic troubles.
But Thatcher had virtually no chance of blocking the bill in the unelected upper house, which is dominated by those who favor the treaty.
The House of Commons, which decides on legislation, passed the bill last month after more than 200 hours of debate. Major was forced into deals to avoid defeat by Conservative Party rebels.
The lords, whose powers are restricted to delaying legislation, will vote at the end of a debate that has been scheduled over two days.