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Object of the Month

Object of the Month

September 2017 - The Common Market Pamphlet, about 1980

The Common Market PamphletThis pamphlet is from the papers of Labour MP Ron Leighton, a chairman of the Common Market Safeguards Committee. The committee was an all-party group of MPs opposed to British membership of the Common Market.

Since its creation in 1958, approaches towards the European Common Market, later European Economic Community and European Union has been a central feature of British foreign and economic policy. Until the late 1980s the Labour party focused on nationalisation and protectionism and the European Community was seen by some in the party as an exploitative common market supporting capitalist domination over working people. From the late 1980s under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, John Smith and later Tony Blair, the party gradually changed their attitude towards the community, especially with regards the protection it offered to working people and consumers.

The collections held in the Labour History Archive and Study Centre include those related to the 1975 UK referendum on membership of the Common Market, papers of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) and Labour Party, and personal papers relating to Britain and the European Union. These collections have recently been fully catalogued and are available for use in the archive for those wishing to visit.