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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Economic tests are key
Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Euro decision based, solely, on the 'five tests'
On Sunday, 18 May, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown insisted to Sir David Frost that the assessment of the five economic tests would be at the heart of the Government's decision over the euro.

The tests would be "the centrepiece" of his announcement to the House of Commons on 9 June, Mr Brown said.

"The five tests effectively define the national economic interest for our country," said Mr Brown. "It is a guarantee that we can ensure jobs, investment and the future profitability of industry and the prosperity of the country, " he told Sir David.

The Treasury's long and painstaking assessment of the economic implications for Britain of euro entry was "insurance" for voters that there would be no repeat of the debacle of British membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a decade ago.

"It is our insurance policy against making the mistakes of the past, particularly the mistakes that were made in the ERM era under the last government," he said. "When we joined the ERM, nobody did an assessment. The national economic interest was not really analysed in detail."

He went on: "People want to be sure that they have a Chancellor, they have a Cabinet and they have a government that is putting the national economic interest first and they want to be sure that the economics and not dogma will be the decisive factor. That is why the focus in my statement on June 9 will be on the five economic tests."

The Chancellor also addressed continuing media claims that he is involved in a long-running feud with the Prime Minister.

"We have been in Parliament together for 20 years," he said. "It's a long time to work together, and I think most people would agree we have worked together for common aims and common objectives over a very long period of time. "I hope people will look back and say it has been an effective partnership to achieve economic results for Britain, particularly in the last six years. It has been an effective working relationship ... and tranquil."

The programme also included an interview with the new International Development Secretary, Baroness Amos. She told Sir David that re-building Iraq was at the top of her agenda. She denied that the British and American governments were sidelining the United Nations - as claimed by her predecessor Clare Short, in her resignation speech.

"Clare made a decision which was a decision for her. If you read the draft UN Resolution which is currently being discussed in New York, it sets out a very clear role for the UN indeed."

Sir David also interviewed the new Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Sir Christopher Meyer. A former British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher is being spoken of as a possible contender to lead the London bid for the Olympic Games.

Rageh Omaar and Eve Pollard
Rageh and Eve reviewed the papers
"Apparently I'm on a list," he acknowledged. "It's a very, very appetising challenge. I do not know whether the finger of fate will point at me, and one of the things, of course, I need to know is whether I could - if the finger fate came my way - whether I could combine this with doing my job at the PCC, to which I am devoted."

The other guests on the programme were the hotelier Sir Rocco Forte and the Chief Executive of Siemens UK, Alan Wood - who discussed Britain's possible membership of the euro from the business point of view.

The newspapers were reviewed by the BBC's correspondent in Baghdad throughout the war, Rageh Omaar; writer and broadcaster Eve Pollard; and the Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University, Ian Hargreaves.


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