Top Tory comes out for the Euro

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The Independent Online
A leading Conservative has come out in favour of the single European currency. He argues that Britain's future is ''inseparably mingled'' with that of Europe and suggests there should be coins with national images on one side and European images on the other. But he goes even further, suggesting all-Europe stamps and passports.

These proposals, contained in a paper that has been obtained by the Independent, will be regarded as close to treachery by Euro-sceptics, such as David Heathcote-Amory, who resigned from the Government this week. But they will please the pro-European Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke.

The Tory author and politician even used the term ''United States of Europe'', and approvingly quoted a socialist leader, who had proposed that ''Europe must federate or perish''. Many people in office, he said, held the same view.

The senior Conservative, whose name this paper knows, appeared also to call for a single European defence system, arguing that the Council of Europe should be extended ''toward some common form of defence which will preserve order among, and give mutual security to, its members'', and enable Europe to take an effective role in the UN.

His paper goes on: ''Inseparably woven with this is the approach to a uniform currency. As we have to build from chaos this can only be achieved by stages. Luckily coins have two sides, so that one side can bear the national and the other the European superscription.''

Last night, Downing Street confirmed that ''there certainly has been talk of having this kind of coin, with a national symbol on one side and a European one on the other''. Treasury ministers have suggested that the Queen's head could be retained, though John Major regards it as a second-order issue.

But in his document, the former minister does not stop there: ''Postage stamps, passports, trading facilities'' and artistic and charitable bodies would ''all flow out naturally'' along the ''main channel'' of the single European currency, he says.

Given the current tense state of the European argument, this language may be regarded as highly provocative. But Mr Major will find it difficult to discipline the author.

To find out why, turn to the top of page 2.