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Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK

UK Politics

Independent Euro Conservative: Out with pound

The UK must get ready for the euro, says Roger Everest

By Roger Everest, Independent Euro Conservative candidate

Earlier this month I met a wise man in Utkinton Lane. He said: "It's a old saying but true - Don't be the first in and don't be the last out."

Britain is too late to be first in to the euro and the Conservative Party is certainly at risk of being the last our of sterling.

This ties in very nicely with my own slogan taken from the title of a recent paperback by Christopher Johnson, In With the Euro, Out with the Pound.

Behind the catchphrase there are real reasons why Britain should join the European single currency:

  • Outside the euro, the pound will diverge away, making convergence and easier trade with Europe ever more difficult. This is already happening and Britain's only reply will be repeated devaluation of the pound.
  • Inside the euro, Britain can influence its development alongside Germany giving us a greater say in the European Central Bank and making sure the single currency is a success for us.

The main issue now is timing. I believe that the Conservative Party is mistaken in ruling out any possibility of joining the euro in the next Parliament.

Nine out of 10 people to whom I have spoken in the constituency agree with me that on this point the Conservatives have got it badly wrong.

In the European elections last month only the Eurosceptics voted in any number and the rest of us remained at home. After all, the Parliament at Strasbourg does not decided whether Britain ought to join the euro.

That is a decision for Westminster. This by-election to the House of Commons is a golden opportunity for those of use who recognise that joining the euro may have to be decided urgently in the next five or seven years.

I make no personal criticism of William Hague, especially now he has a Welsh wife. Coming from south Wales myself I am of course unknown in Cheshire. My only link here is a sentimental one. My wife and I spent a few precious days here on honeymoon. Our children have now flown the next: two doctors, one teacher and a law student.

Whether we return for longer and help give birth to a new currency is a matter entirely for the voters of Eddisbury. I am asking you to vote not so much for the visitor in your midst, but for the euro in your future.

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