Right-wing euroscepticism in the UK: the cases of the uk independence party and the conservative party between 1993 and 2015

Main Article Content

Roman Blagoveščenskij


The outcome of the 2014 elections of the European Parliament and the results of the 2015 national elections begged the question of whether the parties defending Eurosceptic positions are becoming prominent political forces in the UK. The research question is as follows: what are the similarities and differences between the two main right-wing parties of the UK, namely the Conservatives and the UKIP, in their anti-EU rhetoric in the last two decades? I used public speeches of the UKIP leader which showed that the national identity and national sovereignty are of a great value for the party. In this work, I also used other primary sources: the parties’ manifestos (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015), the Eurobarometer surveys (in 1999, 2004 and 2015) and YouGov surveys (between 2012 and 2015). They show that the British public is hostile towards Europe and immigrants from Europe. This article draws the similarities between the Conservatives and the UKIP. They both criticize Brussels for over-centralization of power. According to them, the aim of any British government is to reduce the competences of supranational bodies and return certain powers to the state capitals. In addition, the Conservatives and the UKIP pledged to fight against immigration. However they have different approaches towards the same problems: the Conservatives would have Britain renegotiate the membership terms, while the UKIP favors a withdrawal from the EU. The main difference between the parties in question is that the Tories are far more cautious than UKIP. They believe that Britain can renegotiate the terms of membership and returning certain powers back to the national level. For the UKIP, the EU is bad in its nature. The Conservative party wants to be in Europe but not run by Europe while the UKIP argues that it is impossible to be in Europe but not run by Europe.

Keywords: Euroscepticism, UKIP, Conservatives, Britain


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



Bache, I. & Jordan, A. (2006). The Europeanization of British Politics. In I. Bache & A. Jordan (red) The Europeanization of British Politics (pp. 265-280). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Baker, D., Gamble, A., Randall, N. & Seawright, D. (2008). Euroscepticism in the British Party System. In A. Szczerbniak & P. Taggart (red) Opposing Europe? The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism, Volume 1: Case Studies and Country Surveys (pp. 93-117). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cameron, D. (2013). David Cameron's EU Speech - 23/01/2013 [Video File]. Retrieved 15 August, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcR1cG_LZSQ

Conservative Manifesto for Europe 1994. Conservative Party Archive: Conservative Party European Election Publications. Retrevied August 4, 2015 from http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/modern/cpa/library/publ.html

Conservative Manifesto 1997, The. Retrieved August 5, 2015 from

Conservative Party General Election Manifesto 2001. Retrieved August 8, 2015 from http://www.conservativemanifesto.com/2001/2001-conservative-manifesto.shtml

Conservative Election Manifesto 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2015 from http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge05/man/manifesto-uk-2005.pdf

Conservative Manifesto 2010, The. Retrieved August 13, 2015 from https://www.conservatives.com/~/media/files/activist%20centre/press%20and%20policy/manifestos/manifesto2010

Conservative Party Manifesto, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015 from https://www.conservatives.com/ManifestoStrunk

Eurobarometer 50, 1999. Retrieved August 8, 2015 from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb50/eb50_en.pdf

Eurobarometer 60, 2004. Retrieved August 9, 2015 from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb60/eb60_rapport_standard_en.pdf

Eurobarometer 82, National report, the United Kingdom, 2015. Retrieved 10 August, 2015 from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb82/eb82_uk_uk_nat.pdf
Farage, N. (2013). Speech in Canada 2013 [Video File]. Retrieved 14 August, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SxKUAMCw5Q

Forster, A. (2002). Euroscepticism in Contemporary British Politics: Opposition to Europe in British Conservative and Labour Parties since 1945. London: Routldege.

Glencross, A. (2014). The Politics of European Integration. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Geddes, A. (2006). Political Parties and Party Politics. In I. Bache & A. Jordan (red) The Europeanization of British Politics (pp. 119-135). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Harmsen, R. (2007). Is British Euroscepticism still unique? National exceptionalism in comparative perspective. In J. Lacroix & R. Coman (red) Les résistances à l'Europe : Cultures nationales, idéologies et stratégies d'acteurs (pp. 69-92). Bruxelles: Université de Bruxelles.

Hobolt, S.B. & Tilley, J. (2014). Blaming Europe? Responsibility Without Accountability in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kessel, S. van (2015). Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent? London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Leconte, C. (2010). Understanding Euroscepticism. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Startin, N. (2005). Maastricht, Amsterdam and beyond: The troubled evolution of the French right. In H. Drake (red) French Relations with the EU (pp. 64-78). London: Routledge,

Szczerbiak, A. & Taggart, P. (2008). Introduction: Opposing Europe? The Politics of Euroscepticism in Europe. In A. Szczerbiak & P. Taggart (red) Opposing Europe? The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism, Volume 1: Case Studies and Country Surveys (pp. 1-16). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tiersky, R. (2001). Introduction: Euro-skepticism and “Europe. In R. Tiersky (red) Euro-skepticism: A Reader (1-7). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
UK Independence Party Manifesto 1997. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
UK Independence Party 2001 General Election Manifesto. Retrieved August 3, 2015 from
UKIP Party Manifesto 2005. Retrieved August 1, 2015 from

UKIP general election Manifesto 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2015 from http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge10/man/parties/UKIPManifesto2010.pdf

UKIP Election Manifesto 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015 from http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2015

YouGov (2014). Eurotrack: The Swing to Eurosceptic Right. Retrieved August 7, 2015 from https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/05/12/swing-eurosceptic-right/

YouGov (2014). Voters across Europe back EU migrant curbs. Retrieved August 7, 2015 from https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/11/28/voters-across-europe-back-eu-migrant-curbs/