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Winston Churchill would have to have been 142 years old to have offered an opinion or cast a vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum. In the absence of such longevity on Churchill’s part, both the leave and remain campaigns claimed Churchill’s support for their side. Boris Johnson, Nicholas Soames, and David Cameron all told the voters they were sure that they knew how Churchill would have voted on Europe. Published in advance of last year’s referendum, Churchill on Europe by Felix Klos claims that there is “no doubt” that Churchill wanted the United Kingdom as a leading member of an “ever-closer union of European states.” In his slim book of 64 pages plus notes, the author is able to only make a weak case for his position. The book only considers Churchill’s campaign for a united Europe in 1946-47, including the famous Zurich speech, when he and the Conservatives were in opposition. Klos does not explain, apart from a reference to a lack of support in the Conservative party, why the pursuit of a united Europe was not pressed ahead with when Churchill returned to the premiership in 1951. Perhaps in his forthcoming longer book on Churchill and Europe also from I.B. Tauris, Klos will make a more detailed case and explain why Britain under Churchill remained aloof as the initial steps were being taken for a united Europe in the early 1950s.

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