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1995 - Mr Major’s Comments on the Single Currency

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the single currency, made in an interview on 8th January 1995.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he was keeping open the option of the single currency at a later date].

PRIME MINISTER:

Of course, I mean there are many people who still fear that we may get a single currency in 1996 to 1997. We won’t, we will not get a single currency in 1996 to 1997. Before that could happen we would have needed almost certainly to have been in the Exchange Rate Mechanism for two years, we aren’t in it, no immediate prospect of us going back into it. Secondly the Bank of England would need to be independent, we have no proposals to bring forward legislation for the independence of the Bank of England. And thirdly, there would need to be a proper convergence of economies coming together in performance right across Europe, no question of that happening by 1996 to 1997. Now sometimes people raise the fear that a single currency will go ahead in 1996-1997. Firstly, it can’t in logic. But secondly, let me make the point even clearer, if despite logic, despite the commitments that need to be met before it should go ahead from the Maastricht Treaty, if despite all that other people decided to go ahead in 1996 to 1997 with a single currency, I would not advise the British Parliament to follow them, I don’t believe it would be remotely appropriate for it at that stage.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there should be a vote in the House of Commons on early membership].

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I don’t, I don’t believe the economies are right and I don’t believe anybody is going to be remotely ready for it. So I don’t think anyone will go ahead but I know some people harbour these fears, they ought to remove them.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there would be a referendum before the IGC].

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t favour a referendum before the IGC. I mean a referendum on what before the IGC? Nothing can stop the British Government at any stage in all the IGC raising any subject it wishes, that is equally true of all the other 14 Governments that are going to be there. So a referendum prior to the IGC would be a very curious beast indeed and I certainly don’t favour that.