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A Stranger in EuropeBritain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair$
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Stephen Wall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284559.001.0001

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“A New Dawn has Broken has it Not?” New Labour and the European Union

“A New Dawn has Broken has it Not?” New Labour and the European Union

(p.161) 8 “A New Dawn has Broken has it Not?” New Labour and the European Union
A Stranger in Europe

Stephen Wall

Oxford University Press

Tony Blair was elected to the House of Commons in 1983 at a time when the Labour Party was committed to withdrawal from the European Community (EC). Following the defeat of 1983 and the election of Neil Kinnock as Labour's new leader, the policy of the party began to change. It has been a feature of British politics that British governments have been favourable to the EC and oppositions much less so. The period from after the 1983 election until 1992 was one in which the commitment of both main parties to making a success of Britain's EC membership gradually converged. Neil Kinnock moved the Labour Party's stance from ‘withdrawal’ through ‘withdrawal as a last resort’ to a commitment to Britain's successful membership. However, as the 1997 General Election approached, hostility to the single currency, and indeed the European Union as a whole, grew in the Conservative Party while Labour's approach became more positive.

Keywords:   Tony Blair, Britain, European Union, election, Labour Party, Neil Kinnock, international relations, foreign policy

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