Sovereignty
in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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Throughout the debates on EEC membership, sovereignty has been referred to by several of the leading actors to either advance or prohibit the cause of Britain in Europe. This chapter is therefore devoted to the history and concept of this highly complex term. The internal and external challenges to parliamentary sovereignty are examined, including the power of the executive, governance, globalisation and British foreign policy. Numerous examples of the various types of sovereignty and how these have been utilised by MPs are included. These examples show precisely how the term can be open to exploitation, particularly over the course of Britain’s relationship with Europe. This chapter therefore demonstrates how this concept has been used by members of the political elite to influence an unaware British public.

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