In a scathing rebuke, Howard said: ‘What a humiliation for the chancellor,’ and claimed some of the studies about how to merge currencies, in his 1,730 pages of background, were based on currency unions like those amongst the Pacific islands of Tuvalu and Tonga.
In an astonishing performance Howard tore apart Brown’s statement as designed to ‘paper over’ the fault line in the government and do what industry had begged him not to do – leave the issue open for a further decision next year.
Howard added: ‘As the government dithers, uncertainty is maximised.’
But Brown hit back strongly, saying Howard would never be in favour of joining the euro, even if it was in the best economic interests of the country.
He further claimed that the Tories would not only like to see Britain never in the single currency, but wanted to pull them out of the European Union if they were in government.