Conclusion
in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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The conclusion summarises and explains the findings of the research for this book and reflects briefly on the inter-relationships between the period analysed and the continuing European debate. It is clear that during the period which included two unsuccessful and one successful application, the long-term implications of membership did not weigh heavily with many members of the political elite. The evidence suggests that for many members of both major political parties, short-term considerations were of greater importance. There is evidence, for example, that party management was of greater concern for Wilson and Callaghan than a genuine commitment to EEC membership. The findings also show that the short-term nature of the debate stored up future problems for political parties and their leaderships, which ultimately led to Britain voting to leave the European Union.

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