The Scotsman - United Kingdom, Jun 27, 2000, 201 words

LABOUR'S divisions over the single currency were exposed last night when Alan Donnelly, the former leader of the party's Euro MPs, called for Britain's immediate entry to the eurozone.

In a broadside against the government's "prepare and decide" policy, he said there was "compelling evidence" for Britain's membership of the single currency and urged ministers to launch a debate on the issue before the next general election.

His comments came as Christian Noyer, vice president of the European Central Bank, warned that the UK would lose out if it said it would never join the euro, with large investors moving their operations to Europe.

The government says it favours joining the single currency after the next general election, if five economic tests are met and subject to the approval of a public referendum. But the Cabinet is split on the issue of early entry.

Mr Donnelly said: "I think there's now such compelling evidence for Britain's membership of the single currency we shouldn't give the impression that we are nervous or unsure."

He was speaking at a press conference in Westminster yesterday, marking publication of an academic study by Professor Andrew Rose, international business professor at the University of California, showing that in the long run Britain's trade would double if it was in the eurozone, while trade with Europe would treble.

World Reporter All Material Subject to Copyright

Powered by Inktomi