At the British Academy on Monday 9 November 2015, Dr James Ellison and Dr Robert Saunders organised a Mile End Institute conference titled ‘Britain and Europe: The Lessons from History’. Coming one day before Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on Britain and Europe and his letter to the European Council President, Donald Tusk, outlining terms for renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership, the conference drew an audience of 80 individuals from the academic and non-academic world, including past and present policymakers and politicians, journalists and members of prominent think tanks. It was also filmed by the BBC.
The aim of the conference was for academic experts on Britain and Europe to present their research in a forum with expert discussants from government, journalism and think tanks. The conference included a public interview where the BBC’s Ritula Shah spoke to Lord Kinnock about his views on Britain and the EU from the 1970s to the present. The day finished with a keynote speech by the Minister for Europe, the Rt. Hon. David Lidington, who explained the background to the Prime Minister’s speech.