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Saturday, 10 February, 2001, 13:13 GMT
Hague launches anti-euro blitz
Hague: A referendum would be biased
Hague: A referendum would be biased
The Conservative Party has taken to the streets in its campaign to "Save the Pound".

More than 1,000 stalls in 400 constituencies are trying to convince voters that the best way to block UK entry to the euro will come in the general election, and not an "unfair" referendum.

We don't want to be governed by our neighbours

Tory leader William Hague
Leader William Hague told a crowd of 80 people in rain-swept Stokesley, in his North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond, that losing the pound would mean higher taxes.

"We risk losing the right to run our own affairs in this country.

"We want to work with our neighbours, we don't want to be governed by our neighbours."

The Tories have stepped up their campaign after Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on Wednesday that it would make a decision on holding a referendum on the single currency within two years of the election - widely expected in May.

Referendum 'unfair'

Mr Hague told reporters: "Tony Blair says people can have a referendum after the election.

"I say they will never get a fair referendum.

"The Conservatives are the only party committed to keeping the pound throughout the next parliament."

He said the government would choose the question and the timing of the referendum to favour entry, though ministers have promised the question will be fair and the timing based on economic considerations.

The Tories, who say they have collected a million signatures in their campaign so far, are aiming to add 200,000 more over the weekend.

They are also using some more unusual campaign techniques.

E-mail campaign

On Wednesday local newspapers will be bombarded with Valentine's Day personal advertisements declaring "I love the pound".

It follows an e-mail campaign to rally support for the "Save the Pound" policy.

We expect to see PCs crash throughout the land

Fraser Kemp
Tory officials are planning to send out 20,000 emails and are hoping that "forwarding" will help them to reach at least 100,000 computer users.

The campaign is based on the latest electioneering technique from the US - "e-vert".

Computer users who click on the email will hear the familiar Yorkshire tones of the Tory leader ringing out from their terminals.

This virtual William Hague tells recipients that it would be "plain daft" for Britain to sign up to the euro.

Labour MP Fraser Kemp said: "We expect to see PCs crash throughout the land as people try and rid their computers of this unwanted virus.

"Voters don't support William Hague's right-wing policies and they don't share his extreme views on the euro."

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See also:

08 Feb 01 | UK Politics
British in the dark on EU
08 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Hague in 'email alert'
07 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Hague wants euro election campaign
08 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Hague trumpets family values
05 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Election tax plans unveiled
02 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Campaign trail lures leaders
31 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Hague denies missing the bus
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