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Lord Nigel Lawson the first to suggest that it’s time for Britain to call it quits on the European Union

Lawson, one of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s  most feared yet respected disciples in the heady days of Conservative Party power in the Eighties, comes out in public to question the logic of the UK continuing to prop up its ailing cousins across the English Channel.

Lord Nigel Lawson / Getty

Lord Nigel Lawson / Getty

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/ By Albert Hecht /

When the young Nigel Lawson was a student of political science at Oxford University during the late Fifties, he was known for his roles in taking part in the hottest political discussion of the era, on whether should Britain become a member of the European community, if and when it is formed. The young Lawson was remembered, even then, as being particularly in favour of Britain becoming a part of the union, not even ten years after the entire continent had been at war.

As a relatively young man setting out on his career in politics during the mid-1970s Lawson even took part in several campaigns in favor of Britain remaining a member of the European bloc as Britain regularly held referendums on the subject, so splits where the population on the benefits and downsides of being a member of the community.

There are many that say that the premature end of Lawson’s brilliant political career in ninety-five was brought about by a famous clash that he had with the late Margaret Thatcher, when he had the effrontery, as the UK. Chancellor of the Exchequer, to suggest that Britain link Sterling to the other European currencies in the spirit of the recently introduced Single European Act.

This act was designed to formalize all manners of political cooperation within the European Community that was to be formed within one of the principal factions to be a common policy on monetary policy, and eventually a single currency.

Particularly in favor of such a union were France and Italy as well as several other European Commission members. Margaret Thatcher was very much in opposition to the entire concept of the European Union, and her refusal to consider any form of interaction at that stage caused Lawson to resign his position as Chancellor and eventually leave the political arena completely in the late nineteen eighties.


Now almost a quarter of a century later, Lord Lawson has come out in public, in a recent interview, to state that if current Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron were to once again renegotiate the terms of being a member of the EU and then stand firm on his promise to organize another referendum on whether to withdraw completely, then the UK public may be well advised to consider voting in the negative.

During the interview, Lawson emphasized his belief that the creation of the single European currency, the Euro, have had some very negative results, both within in the union as well as in the UK in particular. He went on to add that in his opinion the country’s interests, both at a political and economic level were no longer being better served by being members of a community whose economy was based around on the increasingly problematic concept of a single currency.

During his six-year term from 1983- 1989 as Chancellor, Nigel Lawson was one of the most ardent champions on behalf of the European exchange rate mechanism, whilst even then stating the dangers of moving away towards the setting of an ERM, rate a form of the central exchange rate calculated between that of the Euro and each of the other participating non-euro area currencies, incorporating a standard fluctuation band of 15 % would be a serious mistake. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, it appears that he has been proven right

Lord Nigel Lawson is now arguing that it would be in Britain’s economic interests to totally align themselves with the European market and instead look more towards basing the economy on the World’s emerging markets instead

In response to Lawson’s interview a spokesperson from Downing St insisted that Prime Minister Cameron could succeed in his efforts to cause mainland Europe to become a more flexible and competitive entity, therefore creating a positive economic climate which should allow the UK public the confidence to vote in favour of embracing the EU concept closer than in the past.

Nigel Lawson was born in 1932 in the upmarket London suburb of Hampstead, to a family whose background was in commodity trading. Lawson’s first wife Vanessa was a member of the Salmon family, founders and owners of the iconic Lyons Corner House restaurant chain.

Lawson graduated from Christ Church, Oxford,  with a first class honours degree in Politics and Economics as well as Philosophy. After completing his compulsory army service as an officer in the Royal Navy, Nigel Lawson set off on a career as a financial journalist eventually reaching the position of editor for The Sunday Telegraph in 1961 and later as editor of The Spectator between 1966 and 1970, before beginning his career in politics.

His first attempt to enter the political arena ended unsuccessfully, when he failed to win a seat for the Conservatives in the 1970 General Election. Nigel Lawson had to wait four years before achieving his goal of becoming a Member of Parliament, winning the seat at Blaby in February 1974, where he was to remain until choosing not to seek re- election before the 1992 General Election.

Nigel Lawson was a particularly active member of Parliament and of the UK during the 1980s on behalf of the Conservative party. In total Lawson served as a Member of Parliament for eighteen years from 1974 to 1992, representing the constituency of   Blaby  in South Leicestershire. Lawson’s peak as a politician was when he served in the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Cabinet from 1981 to 1989.

Lawson’s and Thatcher’s relationship were far from tranquil not only the arguments regarding relationships within the European community being a political hot potato but even more so the Prime Minister’s controversial policy relating to the privatization of several key industries and for her policy of deregulation known as the Big Bang that took place instantaneously on the London stock exchange on October 27, 1986.

Lawson resigned his post as Chancellor in October 1989. In 1992 Nigel Lawson in recognition of his services to British politics was handed the distinction of becoming a Lord Lawson of Blaby and a member of House of Lords. In recent years of Lord Lawson has kept a particularly low profile, leaving his daughter, food writer and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to enjoy most of the family attention from the media.



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