New memo leak: Blair says political case for the euro is 'overwhelming'

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Another potentially damaging leak that appears in two national newspapers this morning shows Tony Blair indicating in a memo his strongest support for the single currency so far, giving ammunition to Eurosceptics that he has already decided the political case for Britain's entry.

Another potentially damaging leak that appears in two national newspapers this morning shows Tony Blair indicating in a memo his strongest support for the single currency so far, giving ammunition to Eurosceptics that he has already decided the political case for Britain's entry.

The Prime Minister's letter, which will risk a further rift with Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, said that the Government had to stand up and be counted in its support for the euro.

"On the euro, we need to be firmer, more certain, clearer. The truth is the politics is overwhelmingly in favour, but the economics has to be right and at present, it is not. It would be far better to be open and up front about this."

An accompanying nine-page letter from Philip Gould, his chief pollster, warned that Labour could lose votes at the next general election because of its support for the single currency.

Mr Gould wrote that the Tories could "make themselves more electable" by "grasping hold of Europe". Under the sub-heading "Conservative Opportunity", Mr Gould said: "For the Conservatives, the Europe issue is a life preserver. By grasping hold of Europe, the Tories can make themselves more electable. If Europe increases in importance, the Tories have significant opportunities to erode Labour support. The issue can be used to highlight Labour's distance from groups that may be questioning Labour on other counts."

The memo, published in The Sun and The Times, is the fifth to be leaked to News International. It will become part of the the high-level leak investigation being conducted by Sir Richard Wilson, the Cabinet Secretary.

In the memo, issued last December, Mr Blair added: "We cannot avoid this debate on Europe. Either we expose the Tories' posturing for what it is, a defeat of our national interest in the name of our national interest, or we just look weak.

"Standing up for Britain will be simple. It is about British power and influence. Everything we do in Europe should be increasing it. Everything the Tories propose should be seen as weakening it."

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