- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2000

LONDON Lady Margaret Thatcher has accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of seeking to "abolish Britain" in his drive for a unified Europe.
The former Tory prime minister in the same speech referred to Michael Heseltine, a one-time Conservative Party deputy prime minister, as a "fellow traveler" of Mr. Blair's Labor Party for supporting a single European currency.
Mrs. Thatcher, who spoke as guest of honor at the Conservative-organized "Keep the Pound" campaign dinner in London last week, predicted the ruling Labor Party would marshal the government to persuade voters to say "yes" to a single currency.
"The prime minister and his government know that on this they must win," Mrs. Thatcher said in remarks taped by a guest. "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."
Mrs. Thatcher's audience of 40 businessmen and senior Conservatives including party leader William Hague warmly applauded her remarks, which positioned her as a leader of the campaign against monetary union.
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 said.
She clearly referred to Mr. Heseltine, whose memoirs criticized her anti-Europe stance, as a "non-Labor fellow traveler."
"To all of this, I say: no, no, no," she declared, echoing famous remarks made at Bruges, Belgium, in 1988 decrying moves toward creation of a European superstate. She praised Mr. Hague for "having the guts and patriotism to fight for Britain's sovereignty."

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