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

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Roman Blagoveščenskij

Abstract

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

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How to Cite
Blagoveščenskij, R. (2017). Right-wing euroscepticism in the UK: the cases of the uk independence party and the conservative party between 1993 and 2015. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(2), 104-111. https://doi.org/10.18844/gjhss.v2i2.422
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