Thatcher Blasts Blair - Says
He Wants To Abolish Britain
By Joe Murphy - Political Editor
Baroness Thatcher accused Tony Blair of seeking to "abolish Britain" in a speech in which she also said that Michael Heseltine was a "non-Labour fellow traveller" for supporting a single European currency.
The attack was launched at a dinner of 40 wealthy businessmen and senior Conservatives, including William Hague, on Monday. Lady Thatcher, who was guest of honour at the Conservative-organised Keep the Pound campaign event held at the independent Sussex House School in London, said Labour would deploy the Government's full resources to persuade people to vote yes to a single currency in a referendum.
She said: "The Prime Minister and his Government know that on this they must win. For unless they abolish sterling they will never attain their wider goal of abolishing Britain as a distinct, self-confident, independent nation. The Prime Minister can claim until he is blue in the face that the decision all depends on economic criteria for convergence but this is nothing more than a cynical and ever more transparent ploy."
In a speech which was taped by one of the guests, Lady Thatcher said that during the Cold War "the Socialists thought their time had come and today's Cabinet ministers were singing The Red Flag and hoping the Soviets would win". She made a clear reference to Mr Heseltine, the former Deputy Prime Minister, whose memoirs are critical of her antipathy towards Europe, as a "non-Labour fellow traveller".
"To all of this, I say: no, no no," she declared, echoing her famous Commons remarks after the Bruges summit. According to guests at the dinner, Mr Hague nodded vigorously throughout her speech and led the audience in warm applause at the end. Lady Thatcher praised him for "having the guts and patriotism to fight for Britain's sovereignty."
The speech appeared to confirm that Lady Thatcher is ready to play a leading role in the campaign against monetary union. It will dismay Mr Blair who has attempted to use flattery and informal contacts to foster friendly relations with Lady Thatcher. He invited her to Number 10 to give him advice during the Kosovo conflict and has praised her strong leadership.
Peter Mandelson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, showed the Government's anxiety about the single currency yesterday when he rewrote a speech at the last minute to tone down remarks in favour of it. Mr Mandelson also had a good word for Lady Thatcher's record. He said: "Thatcherism halted Britain's relative decline."

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