On 6 June 1975, the UK held its first ever national referendum. The question on the ballot was whether it should remain a member of the European Economic Community (EEC), a body it had joined less than 30 months before. By a margin of more than two to one, with 65 per cent turnout, the vote was in favour of staying, a result that Prime Minister Harold Wilson greeted as an historic decision. But while the vote was promoted as an opportunity for the British people to say what they thought about EEC membership, it was as much as anything an effort by Wilson to end a damaging internal disagreement within the Labour Party about British membership. Home Secretary Roy Jenkins claimed that the result put an end to the uncertainty, and committed Britain to playing an active, constructive and enthusiastic role in Europe. But while the British role may since have been active and generally constructive, it has never been all that enthusiastic.
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