Britain will "one day" ditch the pound and adopt the Euro as its currency, Tory peer Lord Heseltine has predicted.
Asked by the New Statesman if it would happen, the former deputy prime minister said: "Oh yes, one day, one day. We have resisted all these European ventures in my life.
"We tried to keep out in Messina in ‘55, that was a very bad decision. Then we joined on terms which were not to our liking but were the best we could get. But we tried to compete with them with EFTA [European Free Trade Association], now of course virtually the whole of EFTA has joined the European Union," he added.
"Margaret Thatcher was no European but she signed the biggest sharing of sovereignty in British history called the Single European Act, she was quite right to do so."
The Tory peer also said that Ukip had a "racist undertone" and that the referendum on Britain's place in the European Union would have a "chilling effect" on firms.
The Conservatives distanced themselves from Lord Heseltine's prediction that Britain would "one day" join the Euro, with a spokesman telling HuffPostUK: "He’s entitled to his view but it’s obviously not shared by the Conservative Party."
Downing Street said that David Cameron would not support the Tory peer's prediction. "They may have to agree to disagree on that one," said a spokesman.
Labour frontbencher Lord Liddle said last month that it would be "pragmatic common sense" for Britain to leave open the prospect of joining the eurozone, telling the Guardian: "In time, if the euro sorts itself out surely the logic is: why should we hang back from that?"
Critics poured scorn on Lord Heseltine's prediction. Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Eurosceptic Business for Britain campaign group, said: "With large and growing numbers of people within Eurozone countries wanting to exit the single currency, it is simply inconceivable that a successful economy like Britain's would want to join and endanger our recovery."