Letter: Thatcher was a Europhile

Margaret Thatcher, sporting a sweater bearing the flags of European nations, in Parliament Square du

Margaret Thatcher, sporting a sweater bearing the flags of European nations, in Parliament Square during her 'Yes to Europe' campaign. Photograph: PA Archive. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

David Woodhead wants to remind Eurosceptics what former Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher had to say about Europe.

Andrew Adonis refers to Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech of 1988. Although this is regarded as having injected the anti-EEC/EU poison into the Conservative party from which we have suffered ever since, it is worth recalling those aspects of her speech that eurosceptics have always preferred to ignore, in which she emphasised Britain's European heritage.

'We British are as much heirs to the legacy of European culture as any other nation,' she said. 'Our links to the rest of Europe, the continent of Europe, have been the dominant factor in our history.'

She recalled our Roman past and the fact that our ancestors – Celts, Saxons, Danes – came from the continent, before declaring: 'Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.'

David Woodhead, Leatherhead


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