UK Daily Mail
Tuesday, Dec 02, 2008
Lord Mandelson was at the centre of a row last night over ‘secret’ plans to ditch the pound after an explosive claim that Britain is ready to join the euro.
The European Commission president said the UK was ‘closer than ever before’ to signing up to the single currency.
Jose Manuel Barroso said he had held private conversations with ‘the people who count in Britain’ and knew that they were ready to move into the euro-zone.
That was widely seen as a reference to Lord Mandelson, who said at the weekend that ‘our aim’ should be to join the euro.
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Lord Mandelson was the loudest cheerleader for the single currency during his stints in Tony Blair’s Cabinet and has just been recalled from Brussels, where he was Britain’s EU Commissioner.
But now he appears at odds with his new boss Gordon Brown.
Downing Street denied there had been any policy shift and said it had ‘no plans’ to ditch the pound. Sources said the suggestion that Britain was ready to enter was ‘wishful thinking’.
Mr Barroso’s remarks led to a backlash in Westminster. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague pledged that there were ‘no circumstances’ in which a Conservative government would propose joining the euro.
This article was posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 5:23 am