Europe: both sides go to war

Brown says Tories want to leave EU
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The Tories wanted to pull Britain out of the European Union, Gordon Brown warned an American business audience last night.

Exposing the gaping gulf between the parties, the shadow Chancellor said in New York: "Whatever the twists and turns on the Conservative side, I assure you Labour is committed wholeheartedly to the continued membership of the European Union. That is the bottom line."

In talks with Robert Rubin, the US Treasury Secretary, Mr Brown today will set out four "tests" for British entry to a single currency under a Blair government: the impact on invest- ment; the effect on financial services; whether the currency is flexible enough to withstand shocks; and the impact on employment.

He will leave open the option of joining the first wave of a single currency, but emphasise that the economic difficulties cannot be ignored. His remarks may be seen as an attempt to avoid being outflanked by the growing Euroscepticism of the Government, but his speech yesterday could not have provided a greater contrast, between Labour enthusiasm and the deep-seated hostility of the Tories towards Europe, he said: "The best way forward, what I believe is the British way, is to be in and to be leading."

He said the present division, disarray, uncertainty and confusion within the Conservative ranks was damaging the three-and-a-half million jobs and investment that relied on Europe.

"The re-election of a Tory government, with a huge Euro-sceptic contingent, would be a recipe for continued civil war over Europe, with the national interest a loser. The Conservative Party's drift towards isolationism, which started as a trickle from the right of the party, has now become a flood engulfing both Left and Right. It has gone dangerously far and must be resisted.

Whether they admit it or not, for today's Tories being pro-British has to mean being anti-European."

The shift had become so great that history had been rewritten wholesale, he said.