Positions taken on Europe, 1959–1984
in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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Testing the book’s central argument, this chapter examines the positions taken by individual MPs, the two major parties, the British press, and public opinion over the twenty-five year period. Analysis is also provided on the effects on individual members of the political elite in the light of European events. There are a number of trajectories related to this chapter which can be found in Appendix 6. These individual trajectories show the various and often changing positions of MPs over the period 1959–84, and whether they supported leave or remain in the 1975 referendum. In respect of the press, the trajectories cover the twelve leading British newspapers and journals and their positions on EEC membership. The trajectories on public opinion clearly demonstrate, for example, how opinion shifted from being anti-membership to strongly pro-membership leading up to Wilson’s decision to hold a referendum in 1975.

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