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Harold Wilson, Denmark and the Making of Labour European Policy, 1958-72$
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Matthew Broad

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940483

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940483.001.0001

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The Surcharge Crisis: October 1964–May 1966

The Surcharge Crisis: October 1964–May 1966

(p.97) 3 The Surcharge Crisis: October 1964–May 1966
Harold Wilson, Denmark and the Making of Labour European Policy, 1958-72

Matthew Broad

Liverpool University Press

This chapter highlights both the obvious limitations and marked successes of the SD’s strategy of influencing Labour policy as Harold Wilson became prime minister. Taking the ‘surcharge crisis’ as its starting point, it explains in greater detail why the SD responded negatively to the European policy of the new Wilson government and how throughout the winter and spring of 1964–65 SD leader Jens Otto Krag set about not only reducing the surcharge but also transforming the issue into a much more fundamental debate about the future of British and Danish ties with the EEC. It then explores the oft-discussed bridge-building initiative that emerged in early 1965 in part precisely because of this effort, before exploring what meetings between Krag and Wilson at the end of 1965 can tell us about the exact timing of Labour’s warming to the idea of a second EEC bid. The final part of the chapter addresses relations between the two parties in the first half of 1966, a period which for the SD at least began with high hopes of an imminent British bid but ended with disappointment over a lack of clarity about the nature of Britain’s future relationship with the EEC.

Keywords:   economic crisis, Harold Wilson, Europe, Jens Otto Krag, surcharge

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