PracticeConsultingByers signals decision on euro after next election

Byers signals decision on euro after next election

A re-elected Labour government would assess early in the next Parliament whether Britain was ready to join the European single currency, trade secretary Stephen Byers indicated today.

Byers sketched out a rough timetable for possible British entry in a speech to the pro-single currency Britain in Europe group.

He is regarded as one of the Cabinet members most enthusiastic about the euro.

Several ministers have sounded more sceptical about the euro recently, leading to speculation that the Government would delay a decision.

But Byers promised that, if New Labour was returned to office at the next election, it would assess whether the conditions of those tests had been met shortly afterwards.

According to the London Evening Standard today, he was to tell his audience: ‘Britain should be part of a successful single currency provided the economic conditions have been met and the people give their consent in a referendum. But the five economic tests have to be met.

‘We will consider if the five tests have been met early in the next Parliament.

‘If the economic tests are satisfied then we could join a successful single currency if that is what the Government, Parliament and the people decide.’

But Mr Byers was expected to emphasise that the commitment to make an assessment on the economic conditions early in the next Parliament did not mean that the government would arrange a referendum immediately after the general election.

Byers: Exclusive interview

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