Latest Issue

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 by…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect