The Conservatives and European Integration: Electoral Strategy, Party Competition and Modernization

24 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013

See all articles by Philip Lynch

Philip Lynch

University of Leicester

Richard Whitaker

University of Leicester

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Increased support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) adds to the difficulties that the issue of European integration causes for the British Conservative Party. A hard Eurosceptic party supporting withdrawal from the European Union (EU), UKIP is winning support from disaffected Conservatives and intensifying divisions with the Conservative parliamentary party on the EU issue. This paper examines how the EU issue has re-emerged as a difficult and divisive one for the Conservatives. It firstly explores the challenge posed by UKIP and the Conservative response, drawing on the literature on competition between niche and mainstream parties. The paper then examines the extent to which the Conservatives have pursued a soft Eurosceptic policy while in coalition with the more pro-integration Liberal Democrats, divisions between hard and soft Eurosceptics within the Conservative Party, and the limits of Cameron’s modernisation project in relation to the EU issue. Finally, the paper considers the significance of Cameron’s January 2013 announcement that a Conservative government elected in 2015 would seek a ‘new settlement’ between the UK and EU and then hold an ‘in-out’ referendum. The paper draws on data from interviews with MPs, MEPs and party officials conducted by the authors, as well as our own surveys of parliamentary candidates, analysis of manifestos and YouGov and British Election Study data.

Suggested Citation

Lynch, Philip and Whitaker, Richard, The Conservatives and European Integration: Electoral Strategy, Party Competition and Modernization (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper, American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2302991

Philip Lynch (Contact Author)

University of Leicester

Richard Whitaker

University of Leicester ( email )

University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
114
Abstract Views
589
rank
263,444
PlumX Metrics