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Conservative leader William Hague
"It is a great risk to the economy"
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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
'Poll is euro referendum'
William Hague
Mr Hague was pressed on the issue of the euro
Conservative leader William Hague has raised the stakes over the euro by declaring that the election is a referendum on the issue.

"If Labour win this election the pound is sunk.

"If the Conservatives win the election the pound stays," he said.

Speaking during a special BBC Question Time programme, Mr Hague said he was firmly against the euro although he refused to say he would never join it.


I think it probably is the last chance to save the pound

William Hague
But he did suggest that this general election was the last chance to save the pound.

Pressed on whether he would allow the electorate a referendum on the issue of the single currency Mr Hague said: "This is the referendum on the euro."

If Labour won, the pound would be lost, and if the Tories won it would be saved, he suggested.

"I think it probably is the last chance to save the pound because the Labour Party have promised a referendum - but they would choose the question, they would choose the timing, they have already rigged the rules so that it would go a particular way," he said.

The Tory leader was less circumspect on British membership of Europe, however.

"I can't possibly see that it would be in the interest of this country to withdraw from the European Union," he said.

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