Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

24 September 1992: Smith attacks 'devalued' PM


House of Commons

John Smith, making his debut Commons speech as opposition leader, attacked the government's economic policies eight days after the UK's exit from the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM).

Prime Minister John Major and Chancellor Norman Lamont had vowed to keep sterling within the ERM. The opposition leader described their inability to keep this pledge as "humiliating".

This clip is the climax of a 40-minute speech in which Mr Smith delivered a forensic analysis of events leading up to "Black Wednesday", the day when currency speculators forced the government to withdraw sterling from the ERM in order to profit greatly from its subsequent devaluation.

Mr Smith dismissed Mr Major as the "devalued prime minister of a devalued government" - a phrase which would be repeated 17 years later in the European Parliament in Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan's criticism of the Labour government's economic policies.

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