THE Tory left last night started a concerted fightback. One of the main left-leaning groups in the party - the Tory Reform Group - issued a rallying call to leading figures on the left to take up ``responsibilities of leadership'' and take on the right.

The TRG has combined with the Macleod Group - named after the One Nation Tory ex-Chancellor Iain Macleod - to launch a series of policy papers aimed at countering the ``extremist'' influence of the right-wing think tanks.

The Conservative Group for Europe also will weigh into the argument today with the publication of a pamphlet by MP Quentin Davies setting out the case for a single European currency.

The move comes at a time when many on the left fear the right has the upper hand in the policy debate - a feeling underlined by the defections of left-leaning MPs Alan Howarth, Emma Nicholson and Peter Thurnham.

An editorial in the TRG's journal The Reformer said that it was now up to the left to demonstrate its strength and not allow the ``zealots'' of the right to make the running.

``What should be alarming for the Tory left is the widening perception that the right wing are well on the way to winning the long running fight for the party,'' it said.