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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Euro campaigners pressure Labour
Euro coin symbol
The row over the UK joining the euro flares up again
Euro-enthusiasts are piling pressure on the government to draw up a timetable to join the single European currency.

The Britain in Europe group is warning that if the UK does not sign up, the strength of the pound against the euro could cost thousands of jobs.

There is a point at which the euro has to stop declining

Labour MP Martin O'Neill
Senior Labour MP Martin O'Neill, chairman of the Trade and Industry Select Committee and a group member, called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to make a definitive statement on the euro before the Labour conference in September.

He said: "This is not 'make-up-your-mind time' at the moment, but come the TUC and Labour Party conferences, many of us are of the opinion that something has to be said.

"If we don't clear the air in the run-up to a general election, we will find that this will be an issue which will assume a significance that it doesn't merit."

'Halt to decline'

The group said it wanted to underline the damage being done to British industry by the high value of sterling against the euro.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted the government would not introduce policies that would devalue the pound.

But the euro has been sinking into a crisis in recent months, as its value has plummeted.

But Mr O'Neill defended the euro, saying by the time of an election, the currency is likely to have stabilised.

"The economic circumstances will be much clearer then as well," he said.

"I think there is a point at which the euro has to stop declining.

"It cannot continue to wobble."

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See also:

28 Apr 00 | Business
Euro hits fresh lows
17 May 00 | UK Politics
Government denies euro rift
17 May 00 | UK Politics
Mandelson widens euro split
16 May 00 | Business
Blair clashes with business chief
24 Apr 00 | Business
Strong pound 'hits business'
30 Mar 00 | Business
Growing business divide over euro
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