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Speech given by prime minister John Major last night in York: ...
Speech given by prime minister John Major last night in York:

'Today, Mr Blair said he knows how to negotiate. But his idea of negotiating is to surrender before the negotiations have even begun. If Mr Blair went to Amsterdam in June as prime minister, he's told the world that he'd give away all the advantages I fought for without asking for a thing in return.

'An act of incompetence and foolishness that's breathtaking.

'Would you go to negotiate your pay having told your boss beforehand you'd be happy to take a pay cut?

'Would you go to buy a used car and tell the salesman you'd give him£5,000 whatever its condition?

'That's what Mr Blair has done in Europe.

'Look at the message the Labour Party's foghorn has blasted across Europe.

'Our opt-out of the Social Chapter - surrendered.

'Our veto on four crucial areas of policy - surrendered.

'British independence curtailed.

'Our refusal to sign up to the Employment Chapter - surrendered.

'British business damaged.

'Mr Blair would invite into Britain policies that have pushed up unemployment right across Europe.

'And who'd be rubbing their hands together with delight as he signed those surrenders?

'Our competitors across Europe, chuckling that Mr Blair was so willing to give away British businesses' competitive advantage and get nothing in return.

'And of course, the trade union bosses: at last, they could inject via the backdoor of Brussels all the powers we've been pushing out the frontdoor here in Britain.

'People of Britain - be in no doubt. I will never give those powers away.

'Unlike Mr Blair, I will not go to Amsterdam with a package of unconditional surrenders under my arm. I'll go there to defend Britain's interests. If that means being isolated in Europe, so be it.

'Mr Blair accuses us of making 'a fetish' out of isolation. It's not isolation, Mr Blair. It's called the British national interest. And I would rather make a fetish out protecting that than, like you, surrendering.

'For me, British jobs, British investment, the British prosperity people have worked so hard to build, comes first.

'The agenda for the Amsterdam Summit becomes clearer by the day.

'Today, Mr Santer said that institutional reform with more majority voting should avoid us 'getting trapped in a vicious circle of paralysis'.

'I disagree.

'Unlike the Labour leader, I will retain our vetoes.

'If it is right for Britain, I will keep my feet on the brakes. Mr Blair would go to Amsterdam and put his foot on the accelerator to a federal Europe.

'That is the clear choice on May 1st. I repeat: if Europe goes federal, a Conservative government would not follow.'

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