Business chiefs urge Blair to back euro

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Indy Politics

Business chiefs joined forces with leading Labour figures yesterday to call on Tony Blair to press the case for membership of the single European currency.

They insisted a nationwide vote on joining the euro could be won as long as the Government, fresh from its landslide election victory, led from the front. Within hours of his re-election, Mr Blair repeated a pledge to hold a euro referendum if five economic tests were met.

Adair Turner, former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, told BBC1's On the Record: "I think the support of the leading members of the Government is absolutely crucial to winning a referendum. Even though it has a large economic aspect, it's basically part of the business of politics."

The former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, now a European commissioner, said the debate over the single currency had reached a turning-point.

The former trade minister Lord Simon of Highbury added: "We should commit ourselves now to forming the policy on joining the euro when we have this unique opportunity of political endorsement and economic conditions running rather well for us."