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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Conservatives Against the Treaty of Rome, 1975

Philip Vander Elst


During the 1975 Common Market Referendum campaign, the Conservative opponents of Britain’s continued membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), led by Neil Marten, Ronald Bell, Richard Body, and a handful of other brave Tory MPs, joined together with Tory constituency activists to form Conservatives Against the Treaty of Rome (C.A.T.O.R.), an organization whose express purpose was to campaign for a ‘No’ vote in that 1975 Referendum.

Having joined this penniless campaign as a freelance journalist and young Oxford graduate (1973), along with my brother, Anthony, who played an active role in that campaign, I was subsequently invited to draft C.A.T.O.R.’s official manifesto, The Conservative Case Against the EEC, which was officially launched on 3rd June 1975.

Since both this manifesto and the Conservative ‘No’ campaign in general received virtually no coverage in what was then an overwhelmingly hostile ‘pro-European’ media, the text of this long forgotten manifesto is set out below for the benefit of Bruges Group members and other 21st century readers. You can judge for yourself the extent to which this humble 1975 document (originally 8 pages of typescript) has proved to be prophetic, and the extent to which the economic scaremongering it criticized 38 years ago remains a key component of pro-EU propaganda today.

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