Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

30 October 1990: 'No! No! No!'


House of Commons

On her return from the Rome Summit of European Community leaders, Neil Kinnock criticised Margaret Thatcher for her role in the collapse of talks on farm subsidies.

But the prime minister was defiant, blaming France and Germany for the failure of the summit, and condemning plans for a single European currency as an assault on Britain's national identity.

She had three words for federalist Commission President Jacques Delors' aim to make the European Parliament the most powerful democratic institution in Europe, with the Commission working as the executive and the Council of Ministers acting as the senate: "No! No! No!"

Her stance played well in some quarters of the popular press - two days later, the Sun's front page headline read "Up yours, Delors".

But it would come back to haunt her. Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned his post two weeks later, arguing that her attitude towards Europe was a "tragedy" that was "running increasingly serious risks for the future of our nation".

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