By S. Onslow
This booklet examines Conservative backbench debate on eu integration and British kinfolk within the heart East among 1948 and 1957. In trying to examine the influence of a free association of Conservative MPs, an geared up faction of longstanding and an ad-hoc strain team, the textual content concentrates upon the Europeanists, the Suez crew and the Anti-Suez crew and considers their makes an attempt to persuade British overseas coverage, utilizing interviews with former parliamentarians and modern assets, released and unpublished.
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Additional resources for Backbench Debate within the Conservative Party and its Influence on British Foreign Policy, 1948–57
But the Empire, all told, had come up trumps in a tight corner, [although] nobody actually said all this in public. It is difficult to realize today just how powerful [the Empire] was, in the national mind and particularly in Conservative thinking, right up to the early Sixties. Many of us t h o u g h t . . that the concept could be revived and indeed could take on a new and greater dimension in the form of the Commonwealth. This would give Britain a part more in 32 Backbench Debate within the Conservative Party keeping with her post-war capabilities, would give free rein to die political aspirations of the Colonial Empire and the Dominions, and would give us a distinctive position in the modern geopolitical scene.
Nice distinctions between 'European unity' and 'European union' were lost, too, on the bulk of the British public. The link between the Tory party and European integration was reinforced in the public's imagination when the National Executive of the Labour Party forbade any of its members to have anything to do with Churchill's United Europe Committee. This unintentional but occasionally deliberate obfuscation aroused the antagonism of the Labour party from the start;92 Churchill protested that the UEM did not aspire to compete with the Government in any way but was merely designed to foster 'moral, cultural, sentimental and social unities and affinities through Europe', 93 but he was accused of seeking to make 'political capital out of what is fundamentally a nonparty ideal'.
Kenneth Pickthorn's acerbic tongue and sarcastic manner was not to every one's taste; an intellectual and former Cambridge don who was once described by Oliver Stanley as 'God's gift to Socialism',140 he was stricdy a 'Concert of Europe' Conservative and once stormed out of a Conservative backbench committee discussion on Europe, 'complaining that the smell of pate de foie gras, and clink of glasses was making him feel nauseous'. 142 True to his Liberal roots, Churchill remained an advocate of free trade - in marked contrast to the Conservative advocates of maintaining and extending imperial preference; and Baxter, Mellor and Marlowe had supported Chamberlain in 1940.