In 2011, on this day Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK was forced to leave the Single Currency after an acrimonious summit in Brussels concluded that Britain was simply too big for the European Union to bailout.
Bye, bye BritainDuring their seemingly endless debates over the membership of the single currency, British politicians had never once considered the possibility that UK membership might actually destroy the Euro. Nevertheless the election of Tony Blair in 1997 had brought to power a national leader absolutely committed to taking Britain into the single currency. And the landslide victory of his Labour Party in 1997 provided the House of Commons majority to force such a historic decision through.
To defuse opposition, Blair decided to wait until after the 2001 election. His decision to join the Euro over the strenuous objections of his Chancellor enabled him to finally break with the troublesome Gordon Brown who was replaced by Alastair Darling. And his legacy seemed assured until the unfolding of the dramatic events during the financial crisis of late 2008.
Ironically, William Hague, who as Conservative Leader had fought the 2001 election on a "Save the Pound" campaign platform was now back in power as Deputy Prime Minister. And so Cameron and Hague finally had the justification to follow their euro-skeptic inclinations to take Britain out of Europe, satisfying the dearly-held wishes of their predecessor Margaret Thatcher whose own government had been destroyed by membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism.