Iain Duncan Smith has broken his silence on the euro and called on Tony Blair to stage an early referendum on Britain's membership of the EU single currency.
The Conservative Leader made the appeal as Gordon Brown prepares to deliver his long-awaited verdict on the five tests set for euro entry, and the Prime Minister retains his enthusiasm to scrap the Pound.
In a keynote speech in London, Mr Duncan Smith described the so-called tests as "a sham", and insisted there was no way any of the five requirements have been met.
Renewing his long standing pledge that a future Conservative administration would keep the Pound and not take Britain into the euro, he explained: "Quite simply, it's because we believe that surrendering our ability to set interest rates according to our economic needs would be bad for British jobs, the British economy and the British people."
But acknowledging that the only test that really matters to Tony Blair is whether he can win a referendum, Mr Duncan Smith declared: "I think that is an important test too. The Prime Minister would rather leave things so he can seize the window of opportunity he is hoping will arise - and go for a vote when he thinks his chances of winning it are greatest."
He continued, "but I think Britain needs more certainty than that. I know British business is demanding more certainty than that. In fact I think the PM
is taking a gamble in which the only loser will be Britain. So if Tony Blair still believes we should join the euro…if he chooses to prolong the uncertainty…if he chooses not to deal with our public services as his first priority…then he should say so, and get on with calling a referendum to find out exactly what the British people think."