The Conservatives and Europe, 1997–2001
in The Conservatives in Crisis

This chapter examines Conservative policy on Europe under William Hague, arguing that, despite the pragmatism of Hague's position, the Conservatives took significant steps in a Euro-sceptic direction. Europe was again prominent in the leadership election that followed Hague's resignation, especially in the second stage when Kenneth Clarke and Duncan Smith competed for the votes of party members. Duncan Smith denied claims that he backed withdrawal, but confirmed his support for renegotiation and indicated that he would never support Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) entry. Hague focused on the economic case against entry, but he and senior Conservatives regularly alluded to the adverse implications of EMU for democratic self-government. In his first party conference speech, Hague apologised for Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) membership and warned that EMU would bring greater dangers.

The Conservatives in Crisis

The Tories after 1997

Editors: Mark Garnett and Philip Lynch


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