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Neil Kinnock: why I changed my mind about Britain in Europe

The former Labour leader on his conversion decades ago to the European cause

By Neil Kinnock  

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock unveils an English Heritage blue plaque at 23 Cliveden Place in Chelsea, London, the former home of Aneurin Bevan and Jennie Lee. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

When the UK entered the Common Market in 1973, I was MP for Bedwellty. I was fearful of the “centripetal pull” that the thriving economies of Northwest Europe would exert on investment and jobs, and the harm that would do to the UK, particularly the so-called “periphery” which included a South Wales that was beginning to experience the massive, unprepared crumble away from industrialisation.

In the 1975 Referendum, I consequently campaigned for a “No” vote—though not without feeling perplexed…

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