7 Days

Eur on Tony Blair "changed gear" in advocating the euro. The PM announced that the government is to fund civil service preparations for a changeover. Dismissing William Hague's charge of prejudging the necessary referendum, Blair held that there could be no choice without preparation.

Peace recess Peace in Kosovo took a back seat to concerns for Nato's credibility. The combined might of Madeleine Albright, Robin Cook and France's Hubert Vedrine failed to extract signatures from the antagonists at Rambouillet, leaving Nato troops all dressed up with nowhere to go. Talks reconvene on 15 March.

Double trouble Fiona Jones, Labour MP for Newark, denied spending twice the legal amount on her 1997 election campaign, following a complaint by the defeated Lib Dem candidate, Peter Harris. Jones and her election agent, Des Whicher, pleaded not guilty at Nottingham Crown Court.

Prison break Four "lifers" at Cambridgeshire's maximum security Whitemoor gaol succeeded in persuading the Prison Service that it has no right to deduct "rent" from wages earned in prison projects. Rebates to all rent-paying prisoners, worth £1 million, will be backdated to 1995, when they brought their case.

Not mine The Defence Secretary, George Robertson, announced the completion of the British Army's project to destroy its anti-personnel mine stocks, well ahead of the deadlines set by the Ottawa treaty. The last four mines were handed over, defused, to mine campaigners and the Imperial War Museum.

Welsh leaks? Downing Street's preferred leader for the Welsh Assembly, Alun Michael, narrowly defeated Rhodri Morgan after unions swung their block vote into line. Morgan requested clarification on whether scores from the count were leaked to his opponents' backers before ballots closed.

Under observation Will Hutton, editor-in-chief at the Observer, was appointed chair of an independent commission set up by the Association of Community Health Councils to monitor public accountability throughout the NHS.

This article first appeared in the 26 February 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The police force we deserve?