Chapter

European Integration

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Abstract

Since the mid-1980s Britain’s role in a European Community and then European Union intent for the most part on ‘ever closer union’ has been a central issue in Conservative politics, posing a number of significant challenges for party statecraft. Following EC entry in 1973 and the self-imposed exile of its chief opponent Enoch Powell, the Conservatives appeared largely at ease with the twin mantles of ‘party of Europe’ and national party, but membership had not brought about a major reordering of the politics of nationhood. By the 1990s many in the party believed that support for European integration was incompatible with its commitment to the nationstate and national identity.

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