Sir John returned from Maastricht in December 1991, having worked with other European leaders to draft the treaty that would establish the European Union.
With an enormous Conservative majority in the Commons, he had the option of immediately bringing forward a bill to ratify the treaty.
However, as a general election was due the following summer, he chose to postpone it and prepare his party for the polls instead.
On the 25th anniversary of the treaty’s ratification, it has emerged that he regrets that decision “above all”, adding that “the whole history of the 1992 to 1997 parliament would have been different”.
He claims that, prior to the 1992 election, his party was largely in favour of the treaty’s proposals.
However, in his eyes, a “different breed of Conservative” emerged after the election and the newly-enhanced eurosceptic wing of the party would go on to cause him major issues.
He told Total Politics: “We came back after the 1992 election and many of the people who had come in were among those who did most to cause us difficulty in getting that through.”
Sir John then revealed that he did not expect the treaty to be remotely controversial.
John Major served as Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997 (Image: GETTY)
The Maastricht Treaty sparked huge controversy in Britain at the time (Image: GETTY)
We could have pushed the Maastricht bill through quickly before the election and