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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 11:58 GMT
Euro referendum plans unveiled
Gordon Brown
Brown ruled out euro entry earlier this year
Proposals to pave the way towards a referendum on UK membership of the single European currency are to be published by the government.

The draft plans, announced in the Queen's Speech, would begin the process of creating the legal framework for holding a poll.

The vote would only be held if the government ruled that its five tests for joining the euro had been met.

There had been reports that plans to introduce the bill had been scrapped.

Full review

The proposals are for a draft bill which would be considered by a committee in Parliament.

A full bill may then be announced in next year's Queen's Speech.

It means a poll on joining the euro before the next general election is increasingly unlikely.

The government said on Wednesday that Chancellor Gordon Brown would report on progress on its package of economic reforms for the eurozone in his pre-Budget report next month.

Mr Brown will then present a full review of whether the case for joining the currency - based on five economic tests - is to be re-examined in his Budget next year.

The chancellor announced earlier this year that the UK was not yet ready to join the euro.

He said the UK had not yet converged sufficiently with the eurozone to consider joining the currency.

He said he would return to the issue again in his Budget next year - but signalled that the draft bill would be introduced.

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