JOINING the euro would have been a "huge, huge error", Britain’s deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admitted today.
Clegg, previously a strong advocate of single currency membership, said that, in "hindsight", Britain had had a lucky escape.
However, he insisted no-one could have predicted the problems which have emerged, and blamed the Germans and French for wrecking the project.
The Liberal Democrat leader was asked about his views on the euro in a round of broadcast interviews at the party's conference in Birmingham.
"I think, clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, you can say it would have been a huge, huge error," Mr Clegg replied.
"I don't think anyone could have predicted at the time the euro was created that the rules which were supposed to be in place to ensure that everybody looked after their own financial affairs properly would be so spectacularly ignored and broken.
"I think history will judge the then French and German governments very, very unkindly who, some years ago, basically signalled that the rules could be relaxed because that then sent a signal out to everybody else - oh well, we don't need to keep our house in order.
"Now I think we are dealing with the consequences."