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Last on

Wed 2 Jan 2013 11:00 BBC Radio 4

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 02 January 2013

On the 40th anniversary of Britain's entry into the EEC, Edward Stourton lifts the lid on the turmoil surrounding accession.

Today, there's talk in Brussels of Britain's increasingly isolated position and calls for a referendum here are getting louder. A Tale of Two Sittings features guests from two key dinners in the early 1970s, one on 2nd January 1973 at Hampton Court celebrating Britain's entry to the EEC and the second at Roy Jenkins' London club marking the British public's sanctioning of it in 1975.

Key international players from both nights relive the political schisms and exhausting campaigning which characterised the two and a half years in between - and provide insight and perspective on Europe's current crisis.

Edward talks to Tony Benn, leader of the No campaign who feels his original arguments have been vindicated, and Lord Archer who voted in favour of entry into Europe and organised the Hampton Court banquet. And we hear from Kenneth Clarke, who was chief whip for a largely pro-European Conservative party but is now seen as one of the few remaining prominent Conservative supporters of Europe.

Presenter: Edward Stourton
Producer: Karen Pirie

A Whistledown production for BBC.


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