Bruges Group

Bruges Group

The Bruges Group is a Eurosceptic think tank based in the United Kingdom.

The group is often associated with the Conservative Party, though it is independent of it and remains an all-party organisation. Its Honorary President is Baroness Thatcher, and its co-chairs are Brian Hindley and Barry Legg. A number of Labour politicians have been associated with the group, including Lord Shore, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart. []

The 1980s and 1990s

The group was set up by Oxford University student Patrick Robertson following Margaret Thatcher's Eurosceptic speech delivered in Bruges in September 1988. It quickly became a focus for Eurosceptic opinion and opposition to the then President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors. It is considered to be the common ancestor of the many British Eurosceptic parties and groups that emerged in the 1990s.

The group was considered highly influential during the period 1988 - 1993, and was a rallying point for rebellious backbench Conservative MPs during House of Commons debates over the Maastricht Treaty. At the height of its influence, Robertson briefly attempted to break the group out of its Westminster base. An Oxford branch was set up (under Roland Smith) with important links to Oxford University's rapidly growing Eurosceptic movement led by student and future Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. The group then went through a difficult period. Dr Alan Sked, a leading academic associated with the group, fell out with other leading members during 1991-1992, and went on to form the Anti-Federalist League, which later evolved into the UK Independence Party. Robertson left the group a short time later, later becoming an adviser to James Goldsmith's Referendum Party.

The present day

The group continues to publish, and is active on the World Wide Web. Some of its leading lights are active in the blogosphere (e.g. Dr Helen Szamuely and Dr Richard North at the EU Referendum blog).

Press articles

These newspaper articles related to a report exposing the costs of EU membership in September 2006.

"Daily Telegraph"

"The Times",,2-2337796.html

"Daily Mail"

"The Sun",,2006400430,00.html

Additional reports were in the "Daily Express".

External links

* [ Bruges Group web site]
* [ Analysis of the Bruges Group's history and its place in UK euro-scepticism]

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