Wales politics

Cardiff Tory MP questions Hague's euro remarks

Jonathan Evans MP
Image caption Jonathan Evans said William Hague's remarks knocked confidence in the markets

A senior Welsh Conservative MP has questioned comments by the foreign secretary which appear to cast doubt over the future of the euro.

Speaking at the Nato summit, William Hague said he "hoped" that the euro would survive but added: "Who knows?".

His comments came as talks continue about the possible need to bail out Ireland, a member of the euro-zone.

Jonathan Evans MP told the BBC's Politics Show he was "surprised" at Mr Hague's remarks.

The MP for Cardiff North, who used to lead the Conservatives in the European Parliament, said: "I found it a strange remark and one which I think on reflection, he probably wished he hadn't made.

"In my own judgement, it's very very clear, we'll continue to have a euro-zone - all based around Germany and the German economy remains very strong.

"We may well see some outlying countries drop out of the euro."

Black Wednesday

Mr Evans, who also chairs the all party committee on insurance and financial services, was concerned that the comments could affect market confidence.

"The difficulty that is being caused at the moment for Ireland is market confidence and any remarks of that sort contribute to a lack of confidence.

Image caption William Hague suggested there are doubts over whether the Eruo-zone will survive

"William Hague knows this because he was working for Norman Lamont at the time when similar remarks were made about the British economy at the time of Black Wednesday."

Mr Evans said it was vital that the Irish economy was supported: "We in Wales and the UK have a very close financial relationship with Ireland. They are our nearest neighbour.

"We have very many businesses in Wales that are inter-linked to the Irish economy.

"Our own banks in the UK are owed something like £50bn by the Irish banks - it clearly isn't in our interests to let the Irish banks go down.

"So irrespective of whether this is a euro-zone bail out or alternatively if it's an arrangement that the UK government joins in separately or on a bi-lateral basis, I think it's very clear that it would be a disastrous thing if we stood aside and just allowed the Irish economy to perish."

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