The Worm in the Apple: A History of the Conservative Party and Europe from Churchill to Cameron

Haus. Aug. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781913368531. $29.95. HIST
A conservative government negotiated the United Kingdom’s entrance into the European Union (EU) in 1973 and authorized the 2016 Brexit referendum that led to the UK’s withdrawal from that organization. Tugendhat (A History of Britain Through Books, 1900–1964) details the history of the Conservative Party’s relationship with the EU and its predecessors, from the end of World War II to the 2016 referendum. The author makes the case that because of the UK’s late entry into the organization, it did not have an opportunity to shape it in its founding years. Thus, the UK primarily saw it as an economic union, whereas many continental Europeans saw it as something much more than that. Even in the early days, there was concern by members of the Conservative Party regarding issues of sovereignty. This work, however, argues that it was Margaret Thatcher’s (prime minister from 1979 to 1990) confrontational relationship with the EU that encouraged Eurosceptical members of her party to eventually gain the upper hand.
VERDICT Highly recommended for any reader interested in modern British politics or its relations with Europe.
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