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Matthew Sowemimo, "The Conservative Party and European Integration 1988-95," Party Politics , 2 (January, 1996), 77-97.

First Paragraph:
The Conservative conflict over European integration was central to the party's 1995 leadership contest. John Major's leadership opponents made Europe the defining issue about the future direction of British Conservatism. The leadership contest was a further stage in the development of factionalism within the Conservative Party centred on the European issue. The new political alignments within the Conservative parliamentary party on Europe have superseded the old 'wets versus dries' conflict over macroeconomic and social policy. Europe has become so divisive for the Conservatives because it is a proxy for unresolved conflicts within the party over the Anglo-American alliance, the future of Thatcherism and conceptions of British nationhood. The European controversy also highlights the extent to which British political parties are struggling to adapt their ideologies and economic strategies to the constraints of economic interdependence and a global economy. Traditionally these constraints have been seen as more threatening to the ambitions of parties of the left.Nevertheless, supranational politics have created a crisis for the Conservative Party's central ideology and its commitment to free-market economics. Political parties which came into existence directed towards governing the nation-state,now find that they have to re-adapt to the constraints and demands of supra-national politics.

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Last Paragraph:
Although the Conservatives have presented themselves as 'the party of Europe', they gained this status by default due to the Labour Party's divisions on the issue in the 1970s. In reality, the Conservative self-image has traditionally been as the party of the nation. Within a federal Europe, the Tories cannot easily form transnational alliances with other centre-right parties because these groupings, such as the French RPR, are also nationalistic organizations. The economic policy divisions between the Tories and European Christian Democrats are also an additional impediment to collaboration amongst the European right. Faced with these considerations, it is conceivable that the bulk of the party could revive Enoch Powell's appeal for an independent free-market island nation, 20 years after Powell despaired of the Conservative Party's unwillingness to accept this course. If this occurred, then the integrationist wing of the party would probably break away and the conservatives would undergo their first split since the repeal of the Corn Laws.