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Leaderless Europe$
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Jack Hayward

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199535026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199535026.001.0001

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A Bid Too Far? New Labour and UK Leadership of the European Union under Blair

A Bid Too Far? New Labour and UK Leadership of the European Union under Blair

Chapter:
(p.167) 9 A Bid Too Far? New Labour and UK Leadership of the European Union under Blair
Source:
Leaderless Europe
Author(s):

Hussein Kassim (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199535026.003.0010

After Thatcher and Major Euroscepticism, Tony Blair's UK did a better job at bringing Britain to Europe than Europe to Britain. He achieved the former objective by avoiding being isolated and seeking to give a lead when possible as part of New Labour's modernizing project. Failure to join the Euro — blocked by his Chancellor Gordon Brown — showed limitations to Blair's power. Although he succeeded in promoting an EU defence capability associated with NATO, the Iraq War weakened Britain's influence. While taking an active part in preparing the 2005 constitutional treaty, the UK government failed to sell the treaty to the British public and conceded a referendum Blair was likely to lose. While Britain was seen as somewhat less detached from the EU despite its opt outs, public hostility to integration was not overcome.

Keywords:   Euroscepticism, public opinion, New Labour, Tony Blair, Iraq War, constitution, referendum

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