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Wednesday, September 23, 1998 Published at 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK

UK Politics

Blair blamed for losing Queen's head

No room for Queen's head on new euro notes

The blame for the decision not to place the Queen's head on British euro notes should the UK join the single currency has been laid at the door of the government.

Michael Howard: "Unacceptable" decision
The move by the European Central Bank was made nearly two weeks ago but was only revealed on Monday.

It overturns verbal assurances that the bank notes would have space for national symbols made at the time of the Maastricht Treaty.

Election pledge

Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Howard said: "The head of a sovereign on a country's money is one of the most powerful symbols of sovereignty that exist.

"I think that is precisely why the European Central Bank want to remove it."

Mr Howard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The decision had come about as a result of the prime minister's failure to make plain that such a decision would have been unacceptable to Britain."

Quoting a pre-election article by Mr Blair, Mr Howard said the prime minister had pledged to maintain the Queen's head on the pound.

'One-way traffic'

In the article entitled 'My love for the Pound', Mr Blair wrote: "I know exactly what the British people feel when they see the Queen's head on a £10 note. I feel it too."

Mr Howard added that as the government claimed to have so much influence in Europe, it should act to ensure the Queen's head is placed on British euro notes.

He said: "The story since the election has been simply one of completely one-way traffic.

"Of the British government surrendering more and more powers to the European Union without getting anything at all in return. And I would say that this is yet another example of that process."

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