Euro Moments: Party policies on Europe in 1983
The policies of the Conservative, Labour and SDP Liberal Alliance parties toward Europe are examined ahead of the looming 1983 general election.
Of the three, Labour, under the leadership of Michael Foot, was the only party to campaign for Britain's withdrawal from the European Economic Community (EEC) - although it was an issue that deeply divided the party.
The Conservatives, committed to continued membership of the common market, argued that the opposition's policy would isolate Britain. Its manifesto promised to shift spending away from agriculture to policies more in the national interest, and to reduce Brussels bureaucracy.
The SDP was the most pro-European of the parties; indeed it was one of the reasons why Shirley Williams, David Owen and Bill Rodgers left the Labour Party to join Roy Jenkins in forming the alliance.
The so-called gang of four campaigned for greater political development of the European community, and to take Britain into the European Monetary System.
The election, held days later on 9 June 1983, saw incumbent Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher re-elected for a second term with an overwhelming majority; a success she would go on to repeat in 1987.
Clip taken from Newsnight, first broadcast 3 June 1983
01 May 2014
- From the section UK Politics