The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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30th Anniversary Dinner of Margaret Thatcher's Bruges Speech

Gala dinner celebrating the Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher

A unique opportunity to celebrate Lady Thatcher and her seminal speech. Her boldness in and strength of purpose in discussions with the EU sets a standard we can follow to this day.

Thursday, 25th October 2018


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In 1988 Lady Thatcher, as Prime Minister famously said to  the College of Europe in Bruges; “We have not successfully  rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see  them reimposed at a European level, with a European  super state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

It is time for the principles so eloquently set out by Lady Thatcher 30 years ago to be embraced.
“That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked upon will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era. And that Britain, with her traditional strengths and global destiny, should ever have been part of it will appear a political error of historic magnitude.”
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS
Sir Bill Cash MP said;

"Margaret Thatcher’s legacy on European affairs is a master class in how to protect and advance the United Kingdom’s national interest.  It was emphatically not to cave in as a supplicant the European Union, as she so brilliantly demonstrated in her handling of the EU rebate.  She faced down the Germans and the French at Fontainebleau and refused to accept the craven advice of her Civil Servants.  Winning the rebate is as much of a part of her UK political legacy as was the Bruges speech itself.  In this she was uncompromising and crystal clear.

"She demonstrated that ‘over the centuries we have fought to prevent Europe from falling under the dominance of a single power.  We have fought and we have died for her freedom’.  She rejected the idea that the European institutions should ‘suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate’.

"As has so often been repeated, she also said ‘we have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European superstate…’

"Lady Thatcher’s Bruges speech was a clarion call for change in the European project.  She called for political courage ‘and for Europe open to enterprise’ and a Europe ‘open to the world’.  She called for Europe to ‘maintain a sure defence through NATO’.  She rejected the prospect of new treaties. 

"Her speech was a watershed in its time, since when the underlining thrust of her approach and her policy has moved on, together with her support for a referendum on our membership of the European Union, for which she voted in the last months of her membership of the House of Commons.  After that, she committed herself, year on year to the cause of those who realised that we could no longer remain a member of the European Union.  I am certain from my profound knowledge of her thinking that she would have been in the vanguard of those voting to leave the European Union and to restore, once and for all, with no shilly-shallying, our democratic self-government.  She would never have acquiesced in the guidelines prescribed for the negotiations by the EU, and she would never have accepted the acquiescent ideas and policies which permeate the Chequers proposals."

The Speakers

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Sir Bill Cash MP

Chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Bruges
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Barry Legg

Maastricht Rebel and Chairman of the Bruges Group


The Ballroom of:
The Lansdowne Club
9 Fitzmaurice Place
London W1J 5JD

Map of Event