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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 05:16 GMT 06:16 UK
Tories 'will stand firm over euro'
Iain Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith is promoting a more inclusive image
Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has insisted he will be at the forefront of the campaign to keep the pound.


I want to keep the pound and when I get into power I intend keep the pound

Iain Duncan Smith
Hitting back at suggestions from within his own party that he should take a back seat, Mr Duncan Smith said people would be "seeing him all the time" if a euro referendum is called.

But, he added, if it was up to him there would be no referendum on the issue at all.

The Tory leader was taking part in a special edition of BBC One's Question Time in Birmingham, before an audience of under 35-year-olds.

'Passionate'

"My party is going to campaign against scrapping the pound and I will lead that vigorously but I can't lead elements of the Labour Party and others.

"I will lead my party. You will be seeing me all the time on this because I am passionate about this and I intend to win that campaign," Mr Duncan Smith said.

Last month, Mr Duncan Smith's strategy director - and former head of the anti-euro Business for Sterling group - Dominic Cummings said Mr Duncan Smith would be kept at arms length in a referendum campaign.

He suggested the current unpopularity of the Conservatives would harm the anti-euro cause.

Mr Duncan Smith said he would lead opposition to the single currency from within his own party but he could have no control over the "broad coalition" who would be battling to keep the pound.

He said he was not in favour of a referendum on the single currency.

"I want to keep the pound and when I get into power I intend keep the pound.

"You only need a referendum if you are going to scrap it."

He said there "no circumstances" in which he would advocate British entry into the euro.

Explaining his call for Tony Blair to "get on" with holding a referendum, the Tory leader said: "If you (Mr Blair) want to do it, lets get on with it. If you don't let's debate the crisis in our health service."

Stamping out racism

Mr Duncan Smith was also at pains to stress the Tories' tough line on racism.

He said he had severed the party's links with the right wing Monday Club and the British National Party.

He said he wanted people from more diverse backgrounds to join the Conservatives.

And he promised more Tory MPs and councillors from ethnic minorities and more women election candidates.

Family values

But he also stressed traditional Conservative family values.

He called a controversial plan to hand out free condoms and contraceptive Pills to pupils in secondary schools "ludicrous".

"What was missing completely from this announcement was any comment about where the parents stood in this.

"You can't bypass parents who have the responsibility for picking up the pieces afterwards", Mr Duncan Smith.

He said the best way to reduce teenage pregnancy was through "education".

"The government says it wants good, stable families and yet at every turn they undermine it by taking away any level of parental control and responsibility."

'Fashionable' Tories

The Tory leader also said he believed he could make it "fashionable" to be a Conservative.

"My strategy, the thing that I have set out to do with my party, is to try and broaden the recognition of the party to show that actually we are concerned about the quality of life issues in a way that we weren't."

That would include health, transport and crime rather than the "one or two" issues that had pre-occupied the party in the past, he added.


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27 Jun 02 | Politics
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20 Jan 02 | Politics
24 Jan 02 | Politics
05 Jun 02 | Politics
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