Letter: Tories and Europe

Tories and Europe

Sir: At the onset of the last general election campaign, the Conservative Party leadership made it clear that they would oppose the abolition of the right of hereditary peers to vote in the House of Lords.

A little later, when questioned about what would be their reaction if Labour won the election and implemented its pledge to abolish that right, Tory spokesmen declared that on their return to power they would not seek to reinstate the lost constitutional rights of peers.

During the campaign the Conservatives stated their unqualified opposition to an elected parliament for Scotland and an elected assembly for Wales. Since their defeat at the polls, however, the Conservatives have undertaken not to abolish either of these two new devolutionary institutions, if they come back into office.

William Hague has now specifically claimed a mandate from his party to oppose British adherence to the euro, whatever the circumstances, during the lifetime of this parliament or the next.

What we Euro-sceptics and Europhiles (I prefer to call the latter "Euro- realists") have not been told is what Conservative policy is to be if, as seems possible, the Prime Minister should seek an early election before the full five-year term of this parliament expires and returns to 10 Downing Street, and then announces he will hold a referendum in which a positive answer will be recommended by his government.

If thereafter the Tories get back into office, will they accept the British acceptance of the euro, or will they revert to the pound sterling?

Sir FREDERIC BENNETT

Aberangell, Powys

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