Taken in by Heath
in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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The crucial House of Commons vote on the principle of EEC membership and the subsequent severe ructions in the Labour Party, as a result of sixty-nine Labour MPs defying the whip to vote with the Conservatives, are analysed in this chapter. The 1970 general election is also of particular significance insofar as the successful Conservative leader Edward Heath was determined to take Britain into the EEC in spite of public opposition and a manifesto which promised only to negotiate on membership. The debates on Europe during this particular period were fought in the midst of a power struggle within the two major parties. The chapter examines the individual motives of Heath, and the extent of the Conservative government’s determination to ensure EEC membership.

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