UK will ultimately join euro says Lord Heseltine

Lord Heseltine Lord Heseltine is an adviser to David Cameron on economic regeneration

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Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has said he still expects the UK to eventually join the euro.

The Conservative peer, one of his party's most pro-European figures, said the eurozone had real problems but he hoped it would survive as its collapse would be "catastrophic" for the UK.

All three of the largest Westminster parties have ruled out joining the euro in the foreseeable future.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the eurozone was "failing".

Prime Minister David Cameron has faced opposition to his European policies within Conservative ranks, with more than 80 MPs defying the government and calling for a referendum on EU membership.

'Hell of a problem'

Many other backbenchers are calling on the PM to use the current financial instability, and talk of closer integration among countries using the single currency, to renegotiate the UK's relationship.

As one of the party's most staunch pro-European voices, Lord Heseltine has argued that all UK prime ministers have found themselves presiding over a deeper relationship between the UK and Europe.

Start Quote

Being like Norway would be a very good holding position for the UK”

End Quote UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Asked by the BBC's Politics Show if he still felt the UK would ultimately join the single currency, he replied: "I think we will join the euro."

He acknowledged that the eurozone was in crisis but said he believed it would endure, largely due to the determination of Germany and France to preserve its "cohesiveness".

"I think the chances, and it is a balance, are that the euro will survive.

"They (Germany and France) have got a hell of a problem, let's be frank about that, but my guess is that they will find a way through.

"I hope they will because the downside for the British economy of the eurozone going under is catastrophic. People have no idea of the scale of money British banks are owed by European banks."

He said European co-operation since the 1950s had been "remarkably successful".

But UKIP leader Mr Farage said the installation of technocratic governments in Italy and Greece was bad for democracy and meant European institutions were even more remote from the people.

"Those Mediterranean countries need to leave the eurozone," Mr Farage told the same BBC programme. "Those countries are in the wrong currency. The whole thing is failing. It is going to break up."

'German dominance'

Germany had become "totally dominant" in Europe, he claimed, after Chancellor Angela Merkel had "stepped into the breach" left by a vacuum of leadership in Brussels.

He suggested that the UK should model itself on Norway which - by remaining outside of the EU - had control over farming and fisheries policies and was not bound by policies on justice and home affairs.

"Being like Norway would be a very good holding position for the UK," he said.

"It would guarantee us free trade and give us a chance to negotiate a deal, like Switzerland has, where they don't have to have any of the rules."

The PM has said leaving the EU and negotiating trade agreements would leave the UK in the worst of all positions where it would still be bound by many EU rules but unable to influence its decisions.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    In this country we have 3 main parties if we dont like them we can vote them out every 5 years.

    In the EU you have NO main parties you can never vote the EU out. Is that democracy or a dictatorship Work it out.

    The EU has control whats to stop them changing the rules so they dont need elections.

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    The British people will never willingly join the Euro. That is a simple fact.
    Polititions ignore that fact at your peril. You have ignored he opinion of the people, on this issue, for far too long. Wake up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    Notwithstanding the financial perspective, I totally reject the EU's control over the UK's law and defence policies. Their interference is destroying our heritage and making our in-house systems weak and ineffective. We are losing control over our own destiny and the ability to control our internal situations. Finance is important but becoming a puppet state of the EU is not an option.

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    "..Europhobes..dream world.

    Here we go again. I am anti the Euro/EU. So I am financially illiterate (I'm a qualified accountant); a little Englander (I only know 'Empire' from history books); a 'Daily Mail reader' (I read the FT); all the usual cliches.
    It's a big festering topic - so let's have a referendum, once & for all.
    Just what are the pro-EU/Euro crowd so frightened of?

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    We always said we would join the Euro if the conditions were right...
    We all knew how Italy and Greece (et al.) ran economies in questionable ways, before their admission to the 'Euro', yet were accepted eagerly without any sensible 'checks and balances on the road to ruin...
    Can we even make all 'eurozone' member countries collect tax in a manner that is open to scrutiny?

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    A word of sanity from an old-style Tory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    Lord H has held these views for ever - he was wrong when he first went on about it - and wrong now. The Euro is a pile of Pants - at least in its present form.

    Doubtless there will be at some point a 'new Euro' (which will be the same in NAME ONLY) they they can all nail their colours to THAT flag and say ''See I told you''

    Its garbage, from a faded (but much respected) former politician.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    EU nutter n***-crats - pushing us around - telling us why we can't deport child & serial rapists and murderers
    This has to stop - we have to gain control - the danger signs are there -Britain is under crisis of EU nutters - denying us sovereignty, free speech etc - just like mods on here - just the start of Big Bro Bull Europa EU - watching us all of time - even when we're asleep - BBC part of it

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    How can people spout about us joining a democracy and mention the EU in the same sentence; a perfect example of an oxy-moron.

    Perhaps we ought instead let the Scandinavians form a financial and trade alliance with us, thus Santa Claus will be on our side!

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    We will not join the Euro, and the reason is simple; No UK political leader has the balls to do it.

    It would be political suicide for the individual and his/her party... until we get over our Imperial - two World Wars, one World Cup - past.

    Don't expect it to happen any time soon, no matter how good it might be for us in the future.

    The past is everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Only the brain dead to want to have anything to do with the eurozone. We have all seen how jokers and playboys run things over there, when theyre not philandering there and in the USA. Its a huge trough for all Euro-MPs who do little more than claim for attendance, travel first class, spend millions on bullet proof limos for themselves and pose for photos outside their over budget palaces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    "People have no idea of the scale of money British banks are owed by European banks."

    Statement speaks volumes. We're repeatedly told how much we get out of EU membership, then Tarzan comes out with this.

    Seems to me British banks should be calling in as many of those debts as possible and bail from this sinking ship before the money goes down with it, same as they would with a failing business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    Absolutely wrong Heseltine,most of the polls say that the British public want out of EU never mind going in to the calamitious Euro.The Euro has failed and is dead in the water,why the hell would we want to go into that!.If we get the promised referendum we will find out what the British public want and the gravy train will be stopping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    we are not european full stop

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    presterjohn 297

    You don't say, the same as we have been doing for the past 50yrs.You will be telling me next, that we are running inflation above 5% and that that is good thing too. Where did I see ship of fools

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    The only way Britain will survive economically and politiically in the EU is to join up with Germany. Weaker countries in a one currency scheme pulls that scheme down We should ust all the weak countries so if Britain does ever accept the Euro as British currency then it is stable because as it stands it is not viable

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    Michael II
    Just now
    One last thing: foreign debt per person: Greece €38,073; UK €117,580.

    A meaningless statistic on its own - it's got to be compared to GDP, ability to pay back, value of assets and the details of the debt. That is why the UK is in the Low Risk of default and Greece in the High.

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    The EU construct is yesterday's dream. We need to stay independent, as a country, be governed by a Government that is closely connected democratically. Able, and outward looking, free of rules and shackles of Eurocrats. Big Europe is for little politicans with Big Egos. Enough!

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    Hezza.... when did anyone last vote for you?

    Your legacy; political assassination. Failed leadership bids and doing your utmost to kill our historic democracy!

    You ceased to be at all relevant years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    The UK economy will suffer as a result of not joining the Euro but not as much as if we do join. If we were in the Euro now then the germans and french would be demanding that we bail out the failing country's by ourselves and our government would do it. We must NEVER join the Euro because we would be propping it up forever until we're bankrupt and NO ONE will help us.


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