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Tory MEP recalls Thatcher's tussles with Brussels

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Tory MEP recalls Thatcher's tussles with Brussels


In opposition, Margaret Thatcher campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Community, the precursor to the EU.

But once in office, the Iron Lady tussled with Europe, winning the infamous UK rebate in 1984, as one British MEP recalled for euronews.

“She saw that Europe was heading the wrong direction. It was costing Britain too much, and it was out of tune with the sentiments of the British people. Like most sensible British people, she was eurosceptic,” said Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative lawmaker in the European Parliament.

Thatcher also backed the creation of the European single market, but would later claim to have been fooled over how it would deepen integration.

“She regretted, I think, signing the single European Act which was the instrument which launched the single market,” Van Orden said.

“I think what she didn’t fully understand fully at the time was that it also launched the European political cooperation and took us deeper into this more integrated political entity. That’s the thing that she objected to.”

Europe was to be her downfall. The then divided Conservative Party decided to oust her as leader in November 1990.

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