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Philip Cowley, "British Parliamentarians and European Integration: A Re-examination of the MPP Data," Party Politics, 6 (October 2000), 463-472.

First Paragraph:
Britain's relationship with Europe has been rightly described as 'one of the dominant and most divisive issues of modern British politics' (Baker and Seawright, 1998a: 1). Those with an interest in the topic owe a considerable debt of gratitude to the Members of Parliament Project (MPP), a group of British academics primarily based at Sheffield and Nottingham Trent universities. Amongst its many works, the MPP has carried out several large-scale surveys of British parliamentarians -- MPs, MEPs and prospective European candidates -- all of which have probed respondents' views on European integration. The Conservatives were surveyed in 1994, Labour in 1996, and all 659 UK MPs (of all parties and none) in mid-1998. These surveys, and the many resulting publications (for examples see those listed in Baker, 1997), have helped us replace a series of 'unsubstantiated claims and counter-claims by politicians and pundits' (Baker et al., 1995: 221) about one of the key issues in British party politics with some solid empirical analysis. Where before we had assertion -- and plenty of it -- we now have some hard data.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: MPs and Europe, mid-1998 (% Eurosceptic)
Table 2: Labour MPs and withdrawal from the EU
Table 3: Another look at Labour's cohort effect
Table 4: Mean Labour scepticism score, by cohort
Table 5: The Conservative cohort effect re-examined
Table 6: mean Conservative scepticism score, by cohort

Last Paragraph:
However, they are almost entirely incorrect in their analysis of the changes in the beliefs of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Rather than occurring in 1987, as a reaction to the defeat of 1983, it seems more likely that the change in the views of Labour parliamentarians began in 1979. The MPP appear to have made the mistake of confusing the official stance of the party -- the manifesto -- with the views of the party's parliamentarians. Yet most of the parliamentary party -- especially the more recently elected MPs -- will have had little impact on the contents of the manifesto. There will, therefore, be a considerable time lag between MPs of different hues entering the Commons and their contribution to changes in the national direction of the party.
As a result, the changes in the composition of the British parliamentary parties did not occur at different times in different parties. The parties appear to have began their journey past each other at exactly the same time: 1979.