Mr Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
Does the Chancellor accept that it is welcomed on the Liberal Democrat Benches when he declares that, regardless of whether Britain joins monetary union, if it goes ahead, it is in our interest to ensure that it is a success? Will he nevertheless acknowledge that the House has to some extent exercised a scrutiny reserve on him and his Government, in that it is difficult to believe, given that the ECOFIN discussions are to go forward as proposals to the summit, that ECOFIN has no substantial influence on the shape of the possible proposals?
Will the Chancellor give the lie to the suggestion made by one or two of his Government colleagues that the discussions do not matter, because monetary union will affect only the member states that join it, given that his and the Government's position is that the United Kingdom may well be a founder member of monetary union?
Those who are opposed to our membership of monetary union should realise that the terms and conditions regulating how members of EMU operate are bound to be the basis of how they conduct themselves in relation to states that remain outside. Either way, the conditions are vital to our national interest.