European Movement UK

The European Movement UK is an independent all-party pressure group in the United Kingdom which campaigns for a close relationship with European Union, and to ensure that European values, standards, and rights are upheld in British law post-Brexit. It is part of the European Movement International which pushes for a "democratic, federal, enlarged European Union". It is the most prominent pro-Europe group in Britain.[1]

European Movement UK
TypePressure group
HeadquartersThe Cursitor, 38 Chancery Ln, Cursitor St, Holborn, London WC2A 1EN
Official language
The Lord Adonis
The Lord Heseltine
Vice President
The Lord Clarke of Nottingham
The Baroness Quin
Vice Chair
Richard Wilson
AffiliationsPeople's Vote

The Honorary President was Lord Ashdown until his death in December 2018. Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine was appointed as President in May 2019.[2] The current Chairman, the operational poltical leadership of the Movement, is (since March 2021) Lord Adonis, preceded by Stephen Dorrell.


The origins of the European Movement lie in the aftermath of the Second World War. More than eight hundred delegates from across Europe gathered at the First Congress of Europe in The Hague in May 1948, under the chairmanship of Sir Winston Churchill, to create a new international movement to promote European unity and prevent further wars between its European countries. The British section of the European Movement was founded a year later.[3] It was also supported by Clement Attlee, the British Prime Minister.[4] Churchill consistently made clear that he saw any 'united Europe' rooted in 'a partnership between France and Germany'. "In all this urgent work" as he put it, "France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America, and I trust, Soviet Russia....must be the friends and Sponsors of the new Europe, and must champion its right to live." The British European Movement, mostly working through its Campaign Group based in Chandos House, London, worked closely with the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath in the early 1970s when Heath applied to join the European Union.[4]

During the UK's European Communities membership referendum in 1975, the organisation campaigned strongly within the 'Yes' campaign[1] and worked with the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.[4]

Other campaigns since then have included pressing for direct elections to the European Parliament in the 1970s[5] and promoting the benefits of the single market in the run-up to 1992.

In 1997 the British European Movement promoted heavily its Europe 97 campaign (ninety-seven reasons for the UK to be in the European Union).[4]

It campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum[6] and continued to oppose Brexit in collaboration with other major pro-European campaign groups such as Open Britain and Britain for Europe.[7]

In February 2018 George Soros's Open Society Foundations donated £500,000 to a number of groups opposing Brexit including £182,000 to European Movement UK.[8] In April the same year the group joined the People's Vote to campaign for a second vote.[9][10]

See also


  1. Barberis, Peter; McHugh, John (2000). Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century. UK: A&C Black. pp. 392–393. ISBN 9780826458148.
  2. Mason, Rowena (2019-05-29). "Heseltine warns Tories: don't follow 'poisonous politics of Nigel Farage'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  3. Jones, Alistair (2016). Britain and the European Union. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. p. 202. ISBN 9781474411790.
  4. Barberis, Peter; McHugh, John; Tyldesley, Mike (2000). Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups ... UK: A&C Black. pp. 133–134. ISBN 9780826458148.
  5. Catterall, Peter (2000). Reforming the Constitution: Debates in Twentieth-century Britain. Psychology Press. p. 145. ISBN 9780714650562.
  6. Staff (2016-06-13). "The people hoping to persuade UK to vote to stay in the EU". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  7. Fletcher, Martin (2018-05-30). "Inside the headquarters of Britain's anti-Brexit brigade". The New Statesman. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  8. Elgot, Jessica (11 February 2018). "George Soros raises donation to anti-Brexit Best for Britain group". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  9. Porritt, Richard (15 April 2018). "Campaign launched to push for People's Vote". The New European. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. Staff writer (15 April 2018). "Launch of the new national People's Vote campaign". Open Britain. Retrieved 17 April 2018.

External links including affiliated branches

  1. "Leeds for Europe - Get Involved". Retrieved 2019-04-13.