'THE EURO VOTE: WHAT'S THE QUESTION?'

The Times – 25 July 2002

The Treasury now hopes that "the pound would disappear just 26 months" after a referendum "yes" vote (report, July 19). Other recent media reports have suggested that there may be a significant reduction in public hostility to Britain joining the single currency as people return from their holidays. On April 19, 1999, you published a letter from four senior Conservative MPs, pointing out that such apparent changes of public opinion "are likely to have resulted from changes in the wording of poll questions, not in public opinion itself".

Since 1998, ICM has been commissioned on seven occasions to ask a single specific question: "Do you think that Britain should replace the pound with the single European currency?"

In the most recent poll carried out this month, 30 percent supported replacing the pound whilst 60 percent are still opposed.

This result – identical to that of March 1999 – suggests that public opinion remains as hostile as ever to abolishing the pound. Far from coming back full of the joys of the euro from Disneyland Paris, tourists are no keener to join the European single currency than they are to join the dollar when they return from the one in the United States.

JOHN REDWOOD
House of Commons
London SW1

[NOTE: The 7 ICM polls showing consistently large majorities opposed to replacing the pound with the single European currency have been commissioned since 1998 by Julian Lewis.]