Gordon Brown: Mandelson and Whelan recall euro decision
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The fourth instalment of 'Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution' is broadcast tonight on BBC Two at 9pm. The episode will look at how Tony Blair stood beside America and their war against terror in the wake of 9/11, which provoked widespread criticism from the British public and Parliament. The programme will focus on the British Intelligence reports suggesting the existence of nuclear weapons in Iraq.
New Labour's decision to publicise those findings, led to a massive media frenzy and the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly by suicide some months later.
Previous episodes of the show chart the meteoric rise of New Labour under the stewardship of Mr Blair, and the political rivalry that began to form between the Prime Minister and his close friend and Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Brown.
One source of disagreement between the pair was whether the UK should join the European single currency, with Mr Blair in favour and Mr Brown opposed.
Mr Mandelson revealed that Mr Blair was "staggered" after Charlie Whelan, Mr Brown's spokesman, told journalists at The Red Lion pub in Whitehall that Britain would not join the euro.
Tony Blair was "staggered" after Gordon Brown stood firm in his refusal for the UK to adopt the euro (Image: Getty/BBC)
Tonights episode will look at how Tony Blair stood beside America after 9/11 (Image: Getty)
Mr Madelson, who was Labour's Director of Communications during the party's rise, said: "When he learned of this Tony was absolutely staggered.
"He and I spoke and he said 'I've got to speak to Gordon about this' and he got switched to find him the Chancellor to talk about this.
"And in the Treasury he was put through not to the Chancellor but to Charlie Whelan.
"And he said to Charlie 'What on earth is going on in this?'"
Mr Madelson was Labour's Director of Communications during the party's rise (Image: BBC)
Mr Whelan also explained: "Unfortunately Tony Blair wasn't quite prepared for this, he was ringing me up and I was in the pub, The Red Lion.
"[Mr Blair said] 'What’s going on Charlie, what's going on? You're saying we're not going in the euro.
"And I said, 'well we're not.'"
In the same episode, Mr Blair stood by his belief that the UK should have joined the euro and stressed that he considered it the country's “destiny”.
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Charlie Whelan told journalists Britain would not join the euro (Image: BBC)
His comments came despite the eurozone crisis in 2009, which saw a sudden stop of foreign capital into countries that had substantial deficits and were dependent on foreign lending.
The crisis was worsened by the inability of states to resort to devaluation.
Many critics have argued it highlighted the difficulty in having a single currency without a fiscal union between the countries using it.
However, Mr Blair said: "With the euro, I have no doubt at all that was Britain's clear destiny.
The decision whether to join the euro was a source of tension between Blair and Brown (Image: Getty)
"All round the world regions were coming together, so for me Britain being at the heart of Europe was essential and the euro fitted into that."
In the documentary Mr Brown said: "We had a difficulty over the euro and that was a policy difference.
"I agreed with Tony ‒ there were huge political advantages for Britain actually being part of the euro.
"But there were also drawbacks ‒ our economic cycle was different from that of Europe, the financial services industry was quite unique.
"My fear was we would have a recession as soon as we went into the European euro arrangement."
Watch 'Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution' tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.
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