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The Conservative Coalition, 2010-15

4. Europe

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how the issue of Europe came to the fore in the period 2010-15, focusing in particular on: (i) the history of the relationship between Britain and the EU, including Britain’s accession to the Common Market in 1973 and the commitments laid out in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty; (ii) the historic tension within the Conservative Party between Europhiles and Eurosceptics, and the extent to which the Eurosceptics in the part were anxious about Cameron’s partnership with the strongly pro-EU Liberal Democrats; (iii) the rise of Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party (UKIP); (iv) the reasons why Nigel Farage (first elected to the European Parliament in 1999) and UKIP (founded in 1993) became so popular at precisely this moment; (v) the increase in net immigration from the EU, especially following the expansion of the EU in 2004, and its (perceived) impact on public services and wages; and (vi) the view that politicians from all three major parties were ‘metropolitan elites’, and out of touch with ‘ordinary’ voters.


In this course, Dr Matt Beech (University of Hull) explores the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of 2010-15. The first module, we think about the key background to the formation of the coalition in 2010 – how and why did the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats come to form the first formal coalition in the post-war period?. After that, in the second module, we think about the extent to which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had a shared political ideology, before turning in the third module to consider their respective positions on the economy. In the fourth module, we think about why Europe became such a big issue in the course of the Parliament, leading to Cameron promising an in-out referendum on Europe in January 2013, before turning in the fifth module to consider the legacy of the 2010-15 coalition – in terms of the subsequent electoral fortunes for the constituent parties, and in terms of the character of UK politics more broadly.


Dr Matt Beech is Reader in Politics at the University of Hull, where he is the Director of the Centre for British Politics. He is a specialist in post-war British political history, government and ideas. His recent publications include (as co-editor) The struggle for Labour's soul: Understanding Labour's political thought since 1945 (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Beech, M. (2020, December 29). The Conservative Coalition, 2010-15 - Europe [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Beech, M. "The Conservative Coalition, 2010-15 – Europe." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Dec 2020,