Patricia Hewitt reignited the Cabinet's debate over the single currency yesterday by declaring the slowdown in European economies was not a reason to delay joining the euro.
The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry dismissed the argument being advanced by some of her colleagues.
Allies of Gordon Brown say the problems on the Continent show Britain is on a different economic path and will make it hard to persuade people to vote to join the euro. But Ms Hewitt said the problems should not obscure the long-term "huge advantages" of joining the single currency.
MPs called for a wider public debate. The Treasury Select Committee, undertaking an inquiry into Britain and the euro, wants people to e-mail members their views.
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