William King is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute London and historian of modern Britain and Europe. His current research examines the history of Euroscepticism in Britain. Prior to joining the project, he was a Teaching Fellow in History at Sciences Po. William holds an MPhil in Historical Studies from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The aim of the project is to explore ‘Eurosceptic’ and critical views towards European integration emanating from the British Labour Party. I am looking to trace and understand the development of critical views from the first directly elected European Parliament in 1979 to 1994, shortly after the Maastricht Treaty. A key aspect of the project will be to highlight alternative visions for integration, the British ‘socialist’ reasons for resisting, and the key figures and narratives involved. The project will pay particular attention to the views of Barbara Castle. This is a topic where surprisingly little has been published, yet it is vital in understanding the development of Eurosceptic views and critical arguments of European integration in Britain.
Current status and next steps
I am currently finishing the first chapter of the project for our internal group meeting, and will soon after be writing the second chapter. Much of the archival research, at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the Bodleian (University of Oxford), and the Churchill College Archives (University of Cambridge), has now been completed. Further research will focus on specific/narrow elements for the chapters of the project, and a trip to The UK National Archives to explore the government policy/responses. The next immediate steps are writing, more writing, and even more writing!