Referendums and European integration: the case of the United Kingdom

Christopher Gifford, Benedick Mark Edward Wellings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter discusses the context in which the use of referendums has become a political instrument for addressing the European issue in the UK. The UK referendum on membership of the EU was premised on the assumption that Europe is a fundamental issue to a common 'British people' on which a clear choice could be expressed. However, the campaign and its aftermath exposed divided and disparate UK citizenries for whom the European question remains as difficult as ever. The chapter begins by exploring the relationship between referendums and the British Political Tradition, defined by the supremacy of parliament and the sovereign powers conferred upon the government of the day. The chapter also discusses the key developments and debates concerning the use of referendums over the UK's relationship to the EU, from the 1975 referendum to the Brexit referendum in 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism
EditorsBenjamin Leruth, Nicholas Startin, Simon Usherwood
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter21
Pages268-279
Number of pages12
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315464015
ISBN (Print)9781138784741
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Euroscepticism
  • Referendum
  • United Kingdom

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