Referendums and European Integration: The Case of the United Kingdom

Chris Gifford, Ben Wellings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter discusses the context in which the use of referendums has become a political instrument for addressing the European issue in the UK. The UK referendum on membership of the EU was premised on the assumption that Europe is a fundamental issue to a common 'British people' on which a clear choice could be expressed. However, the campaign and its aftermath exposed divided and disparate UK citizenries for whom the European question remains as difficult as ever. The chapter begins by exploring the relationship between referendums and the British Political Tradition, defined by the supremacy of parliament and the sovereign powers conferred upon the government of the day. The chapter also discusses the key developments and debates concerning the use of referendums over the UK's relationship to the EU, from the 1975 referendum to the Brexit referendum in 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism
EditorsBenjamin Leruth, Nicholas Startin, Simon Usherwood
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315464008, 9781315464015
ISBN (Print)9780367500030, 9781138784741
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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