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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Taylor issues euro TV debate challenge
Matthew Taylor
Matthew Taylor: honesty is the only policy
Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Matthew Taylor has challenged Chancellor Gordon Brown and shadow chancellor Michael Portillo to a live TV debate on the euro.

Mr Taylor told Liberal Democrat delegates in Bournemouth that the electorate wanted "an honest debate" on the single currency.

He said: "Blair wants, it seems, to get [the euro] by stealth...I've got news for them. People will not be tricked into joining the euro by stealth.

I think the next general election will show us more about politics in the information age

I think it will show us that the age of lies, and sleaze, and stealth taxes won't work anymore

Matthew Taylor

"Meanwhile, Hague too seeks to deceive. Save the pound he says - but he only means for a bit! Either he won't or he can't tell the truth - that is policy is like Labour and John Major, wait and see...".

He added: "So let's the three of us go on TV, debate it live. Matthew. Michael. Gordon. One for, one against, one on the fence."

In a wide ranging speech, Mr Taylor also called for a honest approach to taxation saying that it was the way government spent money that counted.

He said that Liberal Democrat plans for a new 50p rate for people earning more than 100,000 a year was needed to fund improvements in public services.

The new top rate would fund higher pensions, to provide a "more dignified retirement" for pensioners, he said.

Budgets should be spelt out

Mr Taylor called for budgets to be independently audited for their impact and the facts spelt out to every taxpayer in their taxpayer.

Mr Taylor also rounded on the Tories' economic proposals, claiming they had a 16 billion black hole in their spending commitments.

He said: "The Tories may have invented stealth taxes. But now they're planning stealth charges - private pension charges, private health charges, private university charges.

"This stuff won't wash with the informed electorate."

Mr Taylor also said a Liberal Democrat administration would slash red tape "because people will not put up with the meddling, time-wasting and costly over-government that Brown so likes.

Politicians need to be honest - Taylor

"In the new politics of the 21st century politicians will need to be honest, because the people have the power to keep them honest."

He also said Mr Brown's decision to stick to Tory tax plans for his first two years of government had a "terrible cost" to the NHS, school class sizes and pensioners.

Mr Taylor said the Liberal Democrats were pledged to greater investment in schools, pensions and the police, and to tell the truth about taxation.

He said they would lead the debate on the euro and would use the tax system differently to protect the environment.

"I think the next general election will show us more about politics in the information age. I think it will show us that the age of lies, and sleaze, and stealth taxes won't work anymore.

"I think it will show us that in the new politics, honesty isn't the best policy - it's the only policy."

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See also:

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