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Darling: UK will commit £8bn to European bailout

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling said Britain could lose £8bn in an Armageddon scenario under the terms of the €750bn (£645bn) European bailout fund revealed yesterday.

The UK has committed to provide a proportion of the €60bn emergency loan component of the deal, which covers the European Union rather than the Eurozone. Although the Chancellor admitted taxpayers’ cash was on the line, he insisted British funds would not be used to prop up the euro.

He told the BBC Today programme: “There is no way that non-Eurozone countries should be asked to underwrite the currency.”

In a later TV interview, Darling emphasised the £8bn figure would only come into play if weak countries used up all other lines of support in the package. He said: “It is a good deal for Europe and we have minimised our exposure, and that is a very important feature of what I was able to agree last night.”

Given the hung parliament, Darling communicated with his Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposite numbers before making the decision.