Financial Flows (EU)

- Thursday, 12th June 2003

 

Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Unlike the Chancellor, who was elected to the House on a pledge to leave the European Community, I have always been, and remain, an unwavering supporter of British membership, so I should welcome a study of the kind advocated by my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant). Such a study would show that, over recent years, it has been to the benefit of this country to be a member of the EC but that it would, as the Chancellor has shown recently, have been to our disadvantage to have been in the euro. Will the Chancellor confirm that there can be benefits from being in Europe yet outside the euro?

Mr. Brown: I have just said that we would have been wrong to take the advice of the Liberal party and to join the euro in 1999. When the Liberals look at our detailed studies, they will see that their 1999 proposal was wrong. Equally, however, we would be wrong to rule out membership of the euro entirely. The Conservative party is making a historic mistake. The Conservatives have turned their back on their previous position?to review membership during a Parliament and then to leave it for two Parliaments?and they are now against it altogether. I am afraid that they are in danger of moving from being not just against the euro but against Europe altogether, although I accept that the right hon. Gentleman is not.

12 Jun 2003 : Column 822

 

 

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