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Harold Wilson's EEC Application
Inside the Foreign Office 1964-7

Jane Toomey (author)
Publication date:
29th October 2007

Author Biography

Jane Toomey is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities Institute of Ireland


Britain's policy towards Europe in the latter half of the twentieth century has been the subject of endless interest, scrutiny and debate. The European question has dominated foreign policy agendas from Churchill to Blair. This book seeks to further our knowledge of one of the most crucial periods for both Britain and Europe but also to enliven the debate concerning fundamental issues. Why, against a backdrop of the burgeoning 1960s, did the Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, seek to replicate the path taken by his Conservative predecessor Harold Macmillan, and make an application to join the EEC? And why was he unable to succeed? These two questions are central to this study and their answers provide invaluable insights into the formulation, execution and fate of Britain's European policy during this period. Using newly released archival material in the National Archives and having consulted extensive interviews with many of the key political figures, Jane Toomey not only challenges old assumptions but also offers a new interpretation of Wilson's European diplomacy.