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Title: Conservative Modernisation and European Integration: From Silence to Salience and Schism
Authors: Lynch, Philip L.
First Published: 13-Apr-2015
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Citation: British Politics, 10 (2) 13 April 2015
Abstract: The re-emergence of European integration as a difficult issue for the Conservative Party exposed the limits of David Cameron’s modernisation project. In opposition, Cameron had defused the EU issue by lowering its salience but this suppressed rather than effectively addressed the issue, allowing Eurosceptics who favour withdrawal or fundamental renegotiation to shape the agenda. In office, new and familiar challenges emerged. The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis changed the dynamics of the UK’s relationship with the EU. Domestically, coalition with the Liberal Democrats and dissent from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs restricted Cameron’s room for manoeuvre, while the rise of the UK Independence Party added a new dimension to the problems the EU issue poses for the Conservatives. Cameron responded by promising that if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election, he will negotiate a ‘new settlement’ in the EU and hold an ‘in-out’ referendum. This article assesses whether this position amounts to a belated modernisation of Conservative policy that might both resolve intra-party divisions and settle the question of the UK’s place in the EU.
DOI Link: 10.1057/bp.2015.17
ISSN: 1746-918X
eISSN: 1746-9198
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO and publisher website. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in British Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version British Politics, 10 (2) is available online at:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Politics and International Relations

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