the pound came under tremendous pressure. Major gathered his senior ministers in Admiralty House on the morning of September 16 – Downing Street was being repaired at the time following an IRA mortar attack.
Each time Ministers agreed to a hike in interest rates the pound failed to rally, forcing the Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont to suspend Britain’s membership.
The short-term political damage was evident in the House of Commons a few days later when John Smith, the Leader of the Opposition, described Major as ‘the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government’.
Major secretly wanted to resign, but his senior colleagues talked him out of it. Meanwhile, Norman Lamont survived as Chancellor for another