A record low of only 17 percent of Britons support ditching the pound and joining the euro, according to an opinion poll published yesterday. The Times newspaper said the ICM poll, commissioned by the Business for Sterling lobby group, showed 59 percent wanted to maintain the status quo - to remain in the European Union and keep the pound. No immediate comment was available from Prime Minister Tony Blair's office but the poll suggested his Labour government faced an increasing battle to sell the euro to British voters. Blair favours joining the euro after the next general election, due by mid-2002 at the latest, subject to the right economic conditions and approval by Britons in a referendum.

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