Opposition leader David Cameron vowed on Friday that if he won this year's election Britain would never join the euro as long as he was prime minister.
Cameron's forthright re-statement of Conservative Party policy on the European single currency comes as the Greek debt crisis is shaking investors' faith in the euro zone.
The centre-right Conservatives are favourites to end 13 years of Labour rule in an election due in the next few months.
Britain's public sector deficit has also swelled as it copes with the fallout from a severe recession, but analysts say the weakening of the British pound against other major currencies has given it an escape valve denied to countries such as Greece that belong to the euro zone.
"Our deficit and debt are bad enough without the straitjacket of the euro," Cameron said in a speech to the Scottish Conservative Party conference in Perth.
"If I am elected, for as long as I am prime minister, the United Kingdom will never join the euro," he said.
Britain's Labour government has long said it supports the euro in principle but that five economic tests on convergence must be met before Britain would consider joining.
In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said not being part of the euro gave Britain more flexibility. [ID:nLDE61A2X8]
The Conservatives demand urgent action to cut Britain's deficit while the Labour government warns against withdrawing stimulus while the economic recovery is still fragile.
Cameron said the forthcoming election was a choice between lower debt and efficient spending with the Conservatives and "high debt and wasteful spending that puts the recovery at risk" with Labour.
"Sorting out Gordon Brown's mistakes on the economy will be painful and we will need to get on with it straight away," he said.
"The cuts that are coming: make no mistake -- they are Gordon Brown's cuts. That is his inheritance to Britain. But we know what has to be done. We have had to sort out Labour's mess many times before," he said.
"With the Conservatives in charge of the economy, Britain will get back to growth," he said.
Conservative support in Scotland fell away in the 1980s and 1990s, when many Scottish voters were alienated by the then Conservative governments in London, and it still has just one British parliamentary seat in Scotland.
Cameron, who has modernised the Conservative Party and toned down right-wing policies since becoming leader in 2005, said the Conservatives were back in the centre of British politics.
The Conservatives want Scotland to remain part of Britain and opposed the creation of a devolved Scottish parliament in a 1997 referendum.
ReutersLast Mod: 13 Şubat 2010, 11:41