The people against Europe: The eurosceptic challenge to the United Kingdom's coalition government

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


This article approaches Euroscepticism as central to a contemporary dynamic of government and opposition. Populist Eurosceptic mobilizations exemplify opposition to depoliticized forms of political rule and demonstrate the tight political coupling of the national and the European. In the case of the United Kingdom, a depoliticized post-imperial governing approach to European integration has proved highly contested. From this perspective, the article examines the recent politics of Europe under the coalition government (from 2010 to 2013) as a period of Eurosceptic mobilization that successfully challenges European policy. What on the surface appears to be a problem of party management for the Conservative leadership is more accurately understood as a broader conflict between government and a populist Eurosceptic opposition. The outcome of this conflict is to further embed hard Euroscepticism within British politics to the point where maintaining governing autonomy on Europe is severely constrained, if not unfeasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-528
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2014


Cite this