Question: You don't want a single European currency? Portillo: No . . . We've always said, firstly, we don't know whether the principle is right . . . but secondly that 1999 seems to us unrealistic. Since the Maastricht treaty was signed some time ago, it's become more unrealistic because, since then, the ERM has collapsed, so one of the precursors of a single currency has fallen by the wayside.
Q: You are talking about joining a club . . . but you don't want the key tenets, federalism and single currency. Do you recommend we pull out? P: No, those are not the key tenets of the club.
Q: Well, they are two of them, you would admit?
P: No, they are two key ambitions of certain members of the club. We joined an organisation principally because we wanted to have a large home market . . . Now, people have come along and said we also want to move to political and monetary union . . . These are the two issues about which the British have the most extreme doubts . . . they do not want to have a single central, European government . . . and they recognise that, if we had a single currency, we would be a long way towards that because . . . if the economic decisions have to be taken centrally, that's a very important part of . . . the sovereignty of any country.'