Single Currency

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 2000.

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Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo Conservative, Kensington and Chelsea 12:00 am, 20th July 2000

My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) was absolutely right to ask that question. Regarding the five economic tests, does the Chancellor accept that judging whether the British economy is sufficiently flexible to adapt to change is wholly a matter of opinion? Whether or not joining the euro would help long-term investment is merely a matter of debate. The impact of joining on financial services in this country is a matter on which views are hotly divided. Whether or not joining would be good for jobs is a matter of dispute.

Does the Chancellor believe that those tests, which are merely matters of opinion, can be taken seriously by anybody? Are they not just a means of allowing him to stall now, so that if the Labour party wins the election, he can take an arbitrary, ideological decision to scrap the pound.