Martin Steven
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The British Conservative Party and the development of ECR
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Chapter 2 provides a history of the development of ECR, with a particular emphasis upon the United Kingdom’s difficult relationship with the European Union. It is hard to escape the role of Britain in the EU when looking at the activities of ECR, regardless of whether ECR’s future now fully includes the British Conservatives. The chapter contains statistical analyses of voting behaviour from the period around the 2014 European Parliament elections in an attempt to uncover more about why David Cameron originally decided to set up the group. ECR, in its marketing, policies and staff, is essentially the British Conservative Party uploaded to European level, so any context setting must include a detailed account of the UK’s historically antipathetic relationship with Brussels. This chapter also argues that Cameron’s decision to create ECR ahead of the 2009 elections was the central factor in starting the process of Brexit – it displayed a ‘tin ear’ on the part of the British Conservatives to the etiquette and sensitivities of how Brussels functions, and the important role of the European People’s Party which transcends organisational party politics in Strasbourg.

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The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)

Politics, parties and policies


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