Blair claims Cabinet consensus on euro

Link: UK falls short on euro entry test

But the prime minister was also implying that it would be wrong to rule out a referendum on the issue before the next election.

Speaking at his monthly Downing Street press conference, Blair hit back at suggestions that his government was ‘out of touch’ over Europe after minister for Europe, Denis Macshane, insisted that a referendum could be won, although he admitted it might cause ‘civil war’ in the government.

Blair was asked whether his desire for euro entry and refusal to sanction a vote on the EU constitution meant he was ‘out of touch’.

He replied: ‘I am not sure that public opinion is in quite the settled place that those who oppose the euro say it is. It is possible for opinion polls to change.’

The prime minister added that there was ‘an emerging consensus’ on the single currency among his Cabinet colleagues.

‘Each member of the Cabinet has made clear their support for the principle for joining the single currency, with its potential benefits to Britain, to jobs and industry,’ he said.

Blair also brushed aside Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson’s claim that he had allowed himself to be ‘outmanoeuvred’ by chancellor Gordon Brown on the issue.

‘In the end, all that will be pushed to one side, and people will have a serious debate,’ he said.

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