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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Blair's euro 'place in history'
Euro notes
A euro referendum is likely to be a hard fought contest
Former Labour Party deputy leader Roy Hattersley has predicted Tony Blair will want to take the UK into the euro before quitting as prime minister.

Lord Hattersley is pro-single currency and predicted that if a referendum favoured joining the euro Mr Blair would aim to win the following general election before resigning as PM.


I think politicians dominate too much

Lord Owen
Lord Hattersley's comments came as former SDP leader Lord Owen rejected the idea of fronting the campaign against the UK joining the single currency in the event of a referendum.

Lord Owen, who is also a former Labour foreign secretary, is part of the 'No' campaign which is against UK entry into the euro.

Lord Hattersley told GMTV's The Sunday Programme that if he was in Mr Blair's position he would "certainly go on for a third election, I think if I were him I might go on for a fourth and a fifth.

Lord Hattersley
Lord Hattersley is in favour of UK euro membership
"He'll probably think, if I'm guessing... that he'll do another election, beat the record, three in a row, Mrs Thatcher's record will at least have been equalled."

He added that "ideally I think, from his point of view, playing for history", Mr Blair would want to take Britain into the single currency.

"I'd like to see that anyway, for economic and political reasons, but I think it's very important for his place in history.

"My guess is that is what he'll do is go a couple of months, perhaps six or seven months, after the next election."

Lord Owen told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost programme that much of the 'No' campaign was made up of much more than just politicians.

'Broad campaign'

"I think what is very important is that 'No' represents everybody not just politicians - I think politicians dominate too much," he said.

"We have the Green Party involved with us, we have Labour Party people, we have Liberal Democrats... and of course we have Conservatives but what's more important is the broader public".

He added: "That broad coalition we will maintain and we will fight a campaign as effectively as was fought for devolution in Scotland - across the political divides and I don't think it would be appropriate to be lead by a politician."

That echoed comments by Tory strategy director Dominic Cummings who has suggested that the Conservative Party remained too unpopular for leader Iain Duncan Smith to play the lead role.

The remarks by Lord Hattersley and Lord Owen came on the last official day for circulation of the old European currencies such as the franc and the lira.

From Monday the old currencies effectively become worthless six months after the euro was introduced.


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