HC Deb 29 October 1987 vol 121 cc438-9
6. Mr. Knox

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next proposes to have discussions with the European Community Council of Ministers about European monetary matters.

Mr. Lawson

These matters were discussed at the informal meeting of the Community Finance Ministers which I attended in Denmark last month.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the European monetary system is a powerful factor in monetary stability in these uncertain times?

Mr. Lawson

My hon. Friend is right. He has made that point on a number of occasions. The EMS has contributed greatly to exchange rate stability among the countries that are members of that grouping. We are now engaged in a more ambitious attempt at a wider degree of exchange rate stability, involving not merely European currencies but sterling the dollar and the yen, within the context of the Louvre agreement.

Mr. John David Taylor

Will the Chancellor confirm that he will not enter into discussions calling for the United Kingdom to join the European monetary system at this critical time, because such membership would restrict the United Kingdom's right to vary its interest rates?

Mr. Lawson

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is correct on his last point. He will see that member countries of the European monetary system vary their interest rates from time to time and have a considerable ability so to do.