Sir Edward Richard George Heath KG MBE (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. He was a strong supporter of the European Communities (EC), and after winning the decisive vote in the House of Commons by 336 to 244, he led the negotiations that culminated in Britain's entry into the EC on 1 January 1973. It was, says biographer John Campbell, "Heath's finest hour". Although he planned to be an innovator as Prime Minister, his government foundered on economic difficulties, including high inflation and major strikes. He became an embittered critic of Margaret Thatcher, who supplanted him as Tory leader.
Heath's lower middle-class origins were quite unusual for a Tory leader. He was a leader in student politics at the University of Oxford and served as an officer in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War. He worked briefly in the Civil Service, but resigned in order to stand for Parliament, and was elected for Bexley in the 1950 general election. He was the Chief Whip from 1955 to 1959. Having entered the Cabinet as Minister of Labour in 1959, he was promoted to Lord Privy Seal and later became President of the Board of Trade. Heath was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1965; he retained that position despite losing the 1966 general election.
Heath became Prime Minister after winning the 1970 general election. In 1971 he oversaw the decimalisation of British coinage, and in 1972 he reformed Britain's system of local government, reducing the number of local authorities and creating a number of new metropolitan counties. Possibly most significantly, he took Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973. Heath's premiership also coincided with the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, with the suspension of the Stormont Parliament and the imposition of direct British rule. Unofficial talks with Provisional Irish Republican Army delegates were unsuccessful, as was the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, which led the MPs of the Ulster Unionist Party to withdraw from the Conservative whip.
Heath also tried to curb the trade unions with the Industrial Relations Act 1971, and hoped to deregulate the economy and make a transfer from direct to indirect taxation. Rising unemployment in 1972 led him to reflate the economy; he attempted to control the resulting high inflation by a prices and incomes policy. Two miners' strikes, in 1972 and at the start of 1974, damaged the government; the latter caused the implementation of the Three-Day Week to conserve energy. Heath eventually called an election for February 1974 to obtain a mandate to face down the miners' wage demands, but this instead resulted in a hung parliament in which the Labour Party, despite gaining fewer votes, had four more seats than the Conservatives. Heath resigned as Prime Minister after trying in vain to form a coalition with the Liberal Party. Despite losing a second general election in October that year, he vowed to continue as party leader. In February 1975, Margaret Thatcher challenged and defeated him to win the leadership.
Returning to the backbenches, Heath was vocally critical of Thatcherism. He remained a backbench MP until retiring at the 2001 election, serving as the Father of the House for his last nine years in Parliament. Outside politics, Heath was a world-class yachtsman and a talented musician. He died in 2005, aged 89. He is one of only four British prime ministers never to have married.
Sir Edward Heath
Heath in 1987 by Allan Warren
|Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
19 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
|Preceded by||Harold Wilson|
|Succeeded by||Harold Wilson|
|Leader of the Opposition|
4 March 1974 – 11 February 1975
|Prime Minister||Harold Wilson|
|Preceded by||Harold Wilson|
|Succeeded by||Margaret Thatcher|
28 July 1965 – 19 June 1970
|Prime Minister||Harold Wilson|
|Preceded by||Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
|Succeeded by||Harold Wilson|
|Leader of the Conservative Party|
28 July 1965 – 11 February 1975
|Preceded by||Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
|Succeeded by||Margaret Thatcher|
|Father of the House|
9 April 1992 – 7 June 2001
|Preceded by||Bernard Braine|
|Succeeded by||Tam Dalyell|
Edward Richard George Heath
9 July 1916
Broadstairs, Kent, England
|Died||17 July 2005 (aged 89)|
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
|Resting place||Salisbury Cathedral|
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
Edward Heath was born at 54 Albion Road, Broadstairs, Kent on 9 July 1916, the son of William George Heath (1888–1976), a carpenter who built air frames for Vickers during the First World War, and was subsequently employed as a builder and Edith Anne Heath (née Pantony; 1888–1951), a maid. His father was later a successful small businessman after taking over a building and decorating firm. Heath's paternal grandfather had run a small dairy business, and when that failed worked as a porter at Broadstairs Station on the Southern Railway. Heath was known as "Teddy" as a young man. He was educated at Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate, and in 1935 with the aid of a county scholarship he went up to study at Balliol College, Oxford.
In later years, Heath's peculiar accent, with its "strangulated" vowel sounds, combined with his non-Standard pronunciation of "l" as "w" and "out" as "eout", was satirised by Monty Python's Flying Circus in the audio sketch "Teach Yourself Heath" (originally recorded for their 1972 LP Monty Python's Previous Record but not released at the time). Heath's biographer John Campbell speculates that his speech, unlike that of his father and younger brother, who both spoke with Kent accents, must have undergone "drastic alteration on encountering Oxford", although retaining elements of Kent speech.
A talented musician, Heath won the college's organ scholarship in his first term (he had previously tried for the organ scholarships at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and Keble College, Oxford) which enabled him to stay at the university for a fourth year; he eventually graduated with a Second Class Honours BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1939.
While at university Heath became active in Conservative politics. On the key political issue of the day, foreign policy, he opposed the Conservative-dominated government of the day ever more openly. His first Paper Speech (i.e. a major speech listed on the Order Paper along with the visiting guest speakers) at the Oxford Union, in Michaelmas term 1936, was in opposition to the appeasement of Germany by returning her colonies, confiscated during the First World War.
In June 1937 he was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association as a pro-Spanish Republic candidate, in opposition to the pro-Franco John Stokes (himself later a Conservative MP). In 1937–38 he was chairman of the national Federation of University Conservative Associations, and in the same year (his third at university) he was Secretary and then Librarian of the Oxford Union. At the end of the year he was defeated for the Presidency of the Oxford Union by another Balliol candidate, Alan Wood, on the issue of whether the Chamberlain government should give way to a left-wing Popular Front. On this occasion Heath supported the government.
In his final year Heath was President of Balliol College Junior Common Room, an office held in subsequent years by his near-contemporaries Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins, and as such was invited to support the Master of Balliol Alexander Lindsay, who stood as an anti-appeasement 'Independent Progressive' candidate against the official Conservative candidate, Quintin Hogg, in the 1938 Oxford by-election.
Heath, who had himself applied to be the Conservative candidate for the by-election, accused the government in an October Union Debate of "turning all four cheeks" to Adolf Hitler, and was elected as President of the Oxford Union in November 1938, sponsored by Balliol, after winning the Presidential Debate that "This House has No Confidence in the National Government as presently constituted". He was thus President in Hilary term 1939; the visiting Leo Amery described him in his diaries as "a pleasant youth".
As an undergraduate, Heath travelled widely in Europe. His opposition to appeasement was nourished by his witnessing first-hand a Nuremberg Rally in 1937, where he met leading Nazis Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler at an SS cocktail party. He later described Himmler as "the most evil man I have ever met". He was in Germany for two months to learn German, but did not keep up any fluency in the language in later life. In 1938 he visited Barcelona, then under attack from Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. On one occasion a car in which he was travelling came under machine-gun fire, whilst on another a bomb hit his hotel whilst he was observing an air raid from outside. In the summer of 1939, accompanied by his Jewish friend Madron Seligman, he travelled to Danzig and Poland. They made the return journey by hitchhiking and rail across Germany through mobilising troops, returning to Britain just before the declaration of war.
Heath spent late 1939 and early 1940 on a debating tour of the United States before being called up. On 22 March 1941, he received an emergency commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. During the war he initially served with heavy anti-aircraft guns around Liverpool (which suffered heavy German bombing in May 1941) and by early 1942 was regimental adjutant, with the war substantive rank of captain.
Heath participated as an adjutant in the Normandy landings, where he met Maurice Schumann, French Foreign Minister under Pompidou. As a temporary major commanding a battery of his own, he provided artillery support in the Allied campaigns in France and Germany in 1944–45, for which he received a mention in dispatches on 8 November 1945.
Heath later remarked that, although he did not personally kill anybody, as the British forces advanced he saw the devastation caused by his unit's artillery bombardments. In September 1945 he commanded a firing squad that executed a Polish soldier convicted of rape and murder. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, Military Division (MBE) on 24 January 1946. He was demobilised in August 1946 and promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel on 1 May 1947.
Heath joined the Honourable Artillery Company as a lieutenant-colonel on 1 September 1951, in which he remained active throughout the 1950s, rising to commanding officer of the Second Battalion; a portrait of him in full dress uniform still hangs in the HAC's Long Room. In April 1971, as Prime Minister, he wore his lieutenant-colonel's insignia to inspect troops.
Before the war Heath had won a scholarship to Gray's Inn and had begun making preparations for a career at the Bar, but after the war he was placed in joint top position in the civil service examinations. He then became a civil servant in the Ministry of Civil Aviation (he was disappointed not to be posted to the Treasury, but declined an offer to join the Foreign Office, fearing that foreign postings might prevent him from entering politics).
Heath joined a team under Alison Munro tasked with drawing up a scheme for British airports using some of the many World War II RAF bases, and was specifically charged with planning the home counties. Years later she attributed his evident enthusiasm for Maplin Airport to this work. Then much to the surprise of civil service colleagues, he sought adoption as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Bexley and resigned in November 1947.
After working as news editor of the Church Times from February 1948 to September 1949, Heath worked as a management trainee at the merchant bankers Brown, Shipley & Co. until his election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bexley in the February 1950 general election. In the election he defeated an old contemporary from the Oxford Union, Ashley Bramall, by a margin of 133 votes.
Heath made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 26 June 1950, in which he appealed to the Labour government to participate in the Schuman Plan. As MP for Bexley, he gave enthusiastic speeches in support of the young candidate for neighbouring Dartford, Margaret Roberts, later Margaret Thatcher.
He was appointed as an opposition whip by Winston Churchill in February 1951. He remained in the whips' office after the Conservatives won the 1951 general election, rising rapidly to Joint Deputy Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip and, in December 1955, Government Chief Whip under Anthony Eden. Journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft has observed that "Of all government jobs, this requires firmness and fairness allied to tact and patience and Heath's ascent seems baffling in hindsight".
Due to the convention that whips do not speak in Parliament, Heath managed to keep out of the controversy over the Suez Crisis. On the announcement of Eden's resignation, Heath submitted a report on the opinions of the Conservative MPs regarding Eden's possible successors. This report favoured Harold Macmillan and helped to secure Macmillan the premiership in January 1957. Macmillan later appointed Heath Minister of Labour, a Cabinet Minister—as Chief Whip Heath had attended Cabinet, but had not been formally a member—after winning the October 1959 election.
In 1960 Macmillan appointed Heath Lord Privy Seal with responsibility for the negotiations to secure the UK's first attempt to join the European Economic Community (as the European Community was then called). After extensive negotiations, involving detailed agreements about the UK's agricultural trade with Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand, British entry was vetoed by the French President, Charles de Gaulle, at a press conference in January 1963 – much to the disappointment of Heath, who was a firm supporter of European common market membership for the United Kingdom. He oversaw a successful application when serving in a higher position a decade later.
After this setback, a major humiliation for Macmillan's foreign policy, Heath was not a contender for the party leadership on Macmillan's retirement in October 1963. Under Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home he was President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and oversaw the abolition of retail price maintenance.
After the Conservative Party lost the general election of 1964, the defeated Home changed the party leadership rules to allow for a ballot by MPs, and then resigned. The following year, Heath—who was Shadow Chancellor at the time, and had recently won favourable publicity for leading the fight against Labour's Finance Bill—unexpectedly won the party's leadership contest, gaining 150 votes to Reginald Maudling's 133 and Enoch Powell's 15. Heath became the Conservatives' youngest leader and retained office after the party's defeat in the general election of 1966.
In April 1968, Enoch Powell made his controversial "Rivers of Blood" speech, which criticised immigration to the United Kingdom. Soon afterwards, Heath telephoned Margaret Thatcher to inform her that he was going to sack Powell from the shadow cabinet, she recalled that she "really thought that it was better to let things cool down for the present rather than heighten the crisis". The next day Heath sacked Powell. Several Conservatives on the right protested against Powell's sacking. According to Heath, he never spoke to Powell again.
With another general election approaching in 1970 a Conservative policy document emerged from the Selsdon Park Hotel that offered free-market oriented policies as solutions to the country's unemployment and inflation problems. Heath stated that the Selsdon weekend only reaffirmed policies that had actually been evolving since he became leader of the Conservative Party. The Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, thought the document a vote-loser and dubbed it the product of Selsdon Man – after the supposedly prehistoric Piltdown Man – to portray it as reactionary. Heath's Conservative Party won the general election of 1970 with 330 seats to Labour's 287. The new cabinet included Margaret Thatcher (Education and Science), William Whitelaw (Leader of the House of Commons) and the former prime minister Alec Douglas-Home (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs).
During Heath's first year in office, higher charges were introduced for benefits of the welfare state such as school meals, spectacles, dentistry, and prescriptions. Entitlement to State Sickness Benefit was also changed so that it would only be paid after the first three days of sickness. As a result of the squeeze in the education budget, Thatcher ended the provision of free school milk for 8- to 11-year-olds (it had already been ended for other children by Harold Wilson); the tabloid press christened her "Margaret Thatcher: Milk Snatcher", although Wilson, a Labour prime minister, had received no such criticism. Despite these measures, the Heath government encouraged a significant increase in welfare spending, and Thatcher blocked Macleod's other posthumous education policy: the abolition of the Open University, which had recently been founded by the preceding Labour government.
Provision was made under the 1970 National Insurance (Old Persons' and Widows' Pensions and Attendances Allowances) Act for pensions to be paid to old people who had been excluded from the pre-1948 pension schemes and were accordingly excluded from the comprehensive scheme that was introduced in 1948. About 100,000 people were affected by this change, half of whom were receiving Supplementary Benefit under the social security scheme. The Act also made improvements to the Widow's Pension scheme by introducing a scale that started at 30 shillings a week for women widowed at the age of 40 and rose to the full rate of £5 at the age of 50.
Considerable support was provided for nursery school building, and a long-term capital investment programme in school building was launched. A Family Fund was set up to provide assistance to families with children who had congenital conditions, while new benefits were introduced benefiting hundreds of thousands of disabled persons whose disabilities had been caused neither by war nor by industrial injury. An Attendance Allowance was introduced for those needing care at home, together with Invalidity Benefit for the long-term sick, while a higher Child Allowance was made available where invalidity allowance was paid. Widow's Benefits were introduced for those aged between forty and fifty years of age, improved subsidies for slum clearance were made available, while Rent Allowances were introduced for private tenants. In April 1971, the right to education was given to all children with Down's syndrome for the first time.
Families who received this benefit were exempted from NHS charges while the children in such families were eligible for free school meals. Non-contributory pensions were also introduced for all persons aged eighty and above, while the Social Security Act 1973 was passed which introduced benefit indexation in the United Kingdom for the first time by index-linking benefits to prices to maintain their real value.
Scottish and Welsh nationalism grew as political forces, while the decimalisation of British coinage, begun under the previous Labour government, was completed eight months after Heath came to power. The Central Policy Review Staff was established by Heath in February 1971, while the Local Government Act 1972 changed the boundaries of Britain's counties and created Metropolitan Counties around the major cities (e.g. Merseyside around Liverpool): this caused significant public anger. Heath did not divide England into regions, choosing instead to await the report of the Crowther Commission on the constitution; the 10 Government Office Regions were eventually set up by the Major government in 1994.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod died and was replaced on 20 July 1970 by Anthony Barber. Heath's planned economic policy changes (including a significant shift from direct to indirect taxation) remained largely unimplemented: the Selsdon policy document was more or less abandoned as unemployment increased considerably by 1972. By January that year, the number of unemployed reached a million, the highest level for more than two decades. Opposed to unemployment on moral grounds, Heath encouraged a famous "U-Turn" in economic policy that precipitated what became known as the "Barber boom". This was a two-range process involving the budgets of 1972 and 1973, the former of which pumped £2.5 billion into the economy in increased pensions and benefits and tax reductions. By early 1974, as a result of this Keynesian economic strategy, unemployment had fallen to under 550,000. The economic boom did not last, and the Heath government implemented various cuts that led to the abandonment of policy goals such as a planned expansion of nursery education.
Much of the government's attention, as well as the media and public opinion, focused on deteriorating labour relations, as the government sought to weaken the economic power of the trade union, which had grown steadily since 1945. The Industrial Relations Act 1971 set up a special court under the judge Lord Donaldson. Its imprisonment of striking dockworkers was a public relations disaster and became an object lesson for the Thatcher government of the 1980s. Thatcher relied instead on confiscating the assets of unions that courts found to have violated anti-strike laws.
The trade unions responded with a full-scale counterattack on a government hobbled by inflation and high unemployment. Especially damaging to the government's credibility were the two miners' strikes of 1972 and 1974, the latter of which resulted in much of the country's industry working a Three-Day Week in an attempt to conserve energy. The National Union of Mineworkers won its case but the energy shortages and the resulting breakdown of domestic consensus contributed to the eventual downfall of his government.
There was a steep rise in unemployment for the first two years of the Heath ministry, but it was then reversed. Labour in 1964 had inherited an unemployment count of around 400,000, but saw unemployment peak at 631,000 in early 1967. At election time June 1970, the unemployment numbers were still high at 582,000. Heath and the Conservatives were pledged to "full employment" but within a year it became clear that they were losing that battle, as the official unemployment count crept towards 1,000,000 and some newspapers suggested that it was even higher. In January 1972 it was officially confirmed that unemployment had risen above 1,000,000 – a level not seen for more than 30 years. Various other reports around this time suggested that unemployment was higher still, with The Times newspaper claiming that "nearly 3,000,000" people were jobless by March of that year.
Upon entering office in June 1970, Heath immediately set about trying to reverse Wilson's policy of ending Britain's military presence East of Suez. Heath took the United Kingdom into Europe on 1 January 1973, following passage in Parliament of the European Communities Act 1972 in October (21 Eliz. II c.68). He publicly supported the massive US bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong in April 1972.
In October 1973 he placed a British arms embargo on all combatants in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War, which mostly affected the Israelis by preventing them obtaining spares for their Centurion tanks. Heath refused to allow US intelligence gathering from British bases in Cyprus, resulting in a temporary halt in the US signals intelligence tap. He also refused permission for the US to use any British bases for resupply.
He favoured links with the People's Republic of China, visiting Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1974 and 1975 and remaining an honoured guest in China on frequent visits thereafter and forming a close relationship with Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping. Heath realized that to become closer to Europe he needed to be further from the United States, so he downplayed the Special Relationship that had long knitted the two nations together. The two nations differed on such major crises as Britain's EC membership, the Nixon economic "shocks" of 1971, the war between India and Pakistan, détente with Russia, Kissinger's Year of Europe and the Middle East crisis of 1973.
Heath governed during a bloody period in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles. On Bloody Sunday in 1972, 14 men were shot dead by British soldiers during an anti-internment march in Derry City. In early 1971 Heath sent in a Secret Intelligence Service officer, Frank Steele, to talk to the IRA and find out what common ground there was for negotiations. Steele had carried out secret talks with Jomo Kenyatta ahead of the British withdrawal from Kenya. In July 1972, Heath permitted his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, to hold unofficial talks in London with an IRA delegation by Seán Mac Stíofáin. In the aftermath of these unsuccessful talks, the Heath government pushed for a peaceful settlement with the democratic political parties.
The 1973 Sunningdale Agreement, which proposed a power-sharing deal, was strongly repudiated by many Unionists and the Ulster Unionist Party who withdrew its MPs at Westminster from the Conservative whip. The proposal was finally brought down by the Loyalist Ulster Workers' Council strike in 1974, by which time Heath was no longer in office.
Heath was targeted by the IRA for introducing internment in Northern Ireland. In December 1974, the Balcombe Street ASU threw a bomb onto the first-floor balcony of his home in Wilton Street, Belgravia where it exploded. Heath had been conducting a Christmas carol concert at Broadstairs and arrived home 10 minutes after the bomb exploded. No one was injured in the attack, but a landscape painted by Winston Churchill – given to Heath as a present – was damaged.
Heath tried to bolster his government by calling a general election for 28 February 1974, using the election slogan "Who governs Britain?". The result of the election was inconclusive with no party gaining an overall majority in the House of Commons; the Conservatives had the most votes but Labour had slightly more seats. Heath began negotiations with Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party but, when these failed, he resigned as Prime Minister on 4 March 1974, and was replaced by Wilson's minority Labour government, eventually confirmed, though with a tiny majority, in a second election in October.
Heath came to be seen as a liability by many Conservative MPs, party activists and newspaper editors. His personality was cold and aloof, annoying even to his friends. Alan Watkins observed in 1991 that his "brusqueness, his gaucherie, his lack of small or indeed any talk, his sheer bad manners" were among the factors costing him the support of Conservative backbenchers in the subsequent Conservative Party leadership election of 1975.
He resolved to remain Conservative leader, even after losing the October 1974 general election, and at first it appeared that by calling on the loyalty of his front-bench colleagues he might prevail. In the weeks following the second election defeat, Heath came under tremendous pressure to concede a review of the rules and agreed to establish a commission to propose changes and to seek re-election. There was no clear challenger after Enoch Powell had left the party and Keith Joseph had ruled himself out after controversial statements implying that the working classes should be encouraged to use more birth control. Joseph's close friend and ally Margaret Thatcher, who believed that an adherent to the philosophy of the Centre for Policy Studies should stand, joined the leadership contest in his place alongside the outsider Hugh Fraser. Aided by Airey Neave's campaigning among backbench MPs — whose earlier approach to William Whitelaw had been rebuffed, out of loyalty to Heath — she emerged as the only serious challenger.
The new rules permitted new candidates to enter the ballot in a second round of voting should the first be inconclusive, so Thatcher's challenge was considered by some to be that of a stalking horse. Neave deliberately understated Thatcher's support in order to attract wavering votes from MPs who were keen to see Heath replaced even though they did not necessarily want Thatcher to replace him.
On 4 February 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the first ballot by 130 votes to 119, with Fraser coming in a distant third with 16 votes. This was not a big enough margin to give Thatcher the 15% majority necessary to win on the first ballot, but having finished in second place Heath immediately resigned and did not contest the next ballot. His favoured candidate, William Whitelaw, lost to Thatcher in the second vote one week later (Thatcher 146, Whitelaw 79, Howe 19, Prior 19, Peyton 11). The vote polarised along right-left lines, with in addition the region, experience and education of the MP having their effects. Heath and Whitelaw were stronger on the left, among Oxbridge and public school graduates, and in MPs from Northern England or Scotland.
Thatcher had promised Heath a seat in the Shadow Cabinet, and planned to offer him whatever post he wanted. His advisors agreed he should wait at least six months, so he declined. He never relented and his refusal was called "the incredible sulk." Thatcher visited Heath at his home shortly after her election as leader, and had to stay for coffee with his PPS Tim Kitson so the waiting press would not realise how brief the visit had been. Heath claimed that he had simply declined her request for advice about how to handle the press, whilst Thatcher claimed that she offered him any Shadow Cabinet position he wanted and asked him to lead the Conservative campaign in the imminent EEC referendum, only to be rudely rebuffed.
Heath, for many years, persisted in criticism of the party's new ideological direction. At the time of his defeat, he was still popular with rank and file Conservative members and was warmly applauded at the 1975 Conservative Party Conference. He played a leading role in the 1975 referendum campaign in which the UK voted to remain part of the EEC and remained active on the international stage, serving on the Brandt Commission investigation into developmental issues, particularly on North–South projects (Brandt Report).
His relations with Thatcher remained negative, and in 1979–80, he turned down her offers of Ambassador to the United States and Secretary General of NATO. He continued as a central figure on the left of the party and, at the 1981 Conservative Party conference, openly criticised the government's economic policies – namely monetarism, which had seen inflation rise from 13% in 1979 to 18% in 1980 then fall to 4% by 1983, but had seen unemployment double from around 1,500,000 to a postwar high of 3,300,000 during that time.
In 1990, he flew to Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of aircraft passengers and other British nationals taken hostage when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. After the events of Black Wednesday in 1992, he stated in the House of Commons that government should build a fund of reserves to counter currency speculators.
In 1987, he was nominated in the election for the Chancellorship of the University of Oxford but lost to Roy Jenkins as a result of splitting the Conservative vote with Lord Blake.
Heath continued to serve as a backbencher MP for the London constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup and was, from 1992, the longest-serving MP ("Father of the House") and the oldest British MP. As Father of the House, he oversaw the election of two Speakers of the Commons, Betty Boothroyd and Michael Martin. Heath was created a Knight of the Garter on 23 April 1992. He retired from Parliament at the 2001 general election. Heath and Tony Benn were the last two serving MPs to have been elected under the reign of King George VI, Heath being the only one to have served continuously since 1950, as Benn's Bristol South East seat was abolished due to boundary changes in 1983, and he failed to win the newly created Bristol East seat, and did not return to the House of Commons until winning the Chesterfield by-election on 1 March 1984. Along with Heath, Benn also retired at this general election.
Heath maintained business links with a number of companies including a Saudi think tank, two investment funds and a Chinese freight operator, mainly as an adviser on China or a member of the governing board. According to Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong, his commercial interests in China could be one of the reasons why he denounced the democratic reforms introduced in the run-up to the handover of Hong Kong.
Parliament broke with precedent by commissioning a bust of Heath while he was still alive. The 1993 bronze work, by Martin Jennings, was moved to the Members' Lobby in 2002. On 29 April 2002, in his eighty-sixth year, he made a public appearance at Buckingham Palace alongside the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair and the three other surviving former Prime Ministers at the time (James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher and John Major), as well as relatives of deceased Prime Ministers, for a dinner which was part of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. This was to be one of his last public appearances, as the following year saw a decline in his health.
In August 2003, at the age of 87, Heath suffered a pulmonary embolism while on holiday in Salzburg, Austria. He never fully recovered, and owing to his declining health and mobility made very few public appearances in the final two years of his life. His last public appearance was at the unveiling of a set of gates to Sir Winston Churchill at St Paul's Cathedral on 30 November 2004.
In his final public statement Heath paid tribute to James Callaghan, who died on 26 March 2005, saying "James Callaghan was a major fixture in the political life of this country during his long and varied career. When in opposition he never hesitated to put firmly his party's case. When in office he took a smoother approach towards his supporters and opponents alike. Although he left the House of Commons in 1987 he continued to follow political life and it was always a pleasure to meet with him. We have lost a major figure from our political landscape".
Heath died from pneumonia on the evening of 17 July 2005, at the age of 89. He was cremated on 25 July 2005 at a funeral service attended by 1,500 people. The day after his death the BBC Parliament channel showed the BBC results coverage of the 1970 election. A memorial service was held for Heath in Westminster Abbey on 8 November 2005, which was attended by two thousand people. Three days later his ashes were interred in Salisbury Cathedral. In a tribute to him, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair stated "He was a man of great integrity and beliefs he held firmly from which he never wavered".
In the 1960s, Heath had lived in the Albany, off Piccadilly; at the unexpected end of his premiership, the French couple living there refused his demand that they move out so that he could have his flat back ("So much for European Unity!" Heath later wrote in his memoirs). Heath took the flat of a Conservative MP Tim Kitson for four months; Kitson declined his offer to pay rent but later recalled an occasion when his watch broke and Heath invited him to take one of a large collection which he had been given on his travels. In July 1974, the Duke of Westminster, a major London landowner and ardent Europhile, allowed Heath to rent a property in Wilton Street, Belgravia for an annual rent of £1,250 (just under £10,000 at 2014 prices), a tenth of the market value. The house had three storeys and a basement flat for Heath's housekeeper, and he continued to use it as his London home until old age prevented him from climbing the stairs.
In February 1985, Heath acquired a country home, Arundells, in the Cathedral close at Salisbury, where he resided until his death twenty years later. In January 2006, it was announced that Heath had placed his house and contents, valued at £5 million in his will, in a charitable foundation, the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, to conserve the house as a museum to his career. The house is open to the public for guided tours from March to October, and displayed is a large collection of personal effects as well as Heath's personal library, photo collections, and paintings by Winston Churchill.
In his will Heath, who had had no descendants, left only two legacies: £20,000 to his brother's widow, and £2,500 to his housekeeper.
Heath was a keen yachtsman. He bought his first yacht Morning Cloud in 1969 and won the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race that year. He captained Britain's winning team for the Admiral's Cup in 1971 – while Prime Minister – and also captained the team in the 1979 Fastnet race. He was a member of the Broadstairs Sailing Club, where he learnt to sail on a Snipe and a Fireball before moving on to success in larger boats.
Heath maintained an interest in classical music as a pianist, organist and orchestral conductor, famously installing a Steinway grand in 10 Downing Street – bought with his £450 Charlemagne Prize money, awarded for his unsuccessful efforts to bring Britain into the EEC in 1963, and chosen on the advice of his friend, the pianist Moura Lympany – and conducting Christmas carol concerts in Broadstairs every year from his teens until old age. Heath often played the organ for services at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in his early years.
Heath conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, notably at a gala concert at the Royal Festival Hall in November 1971, at which he conducted Sir Edward Elgar's overture Cockaigne (In London Town). He also conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the English Chamber Orchestra, as well as orchestras in Germany and the United States. During his premiership, Heath invited musician friends, such as Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Clifford Curzon and the Amadeus Quartet, to perform either at Chequers or 10 Downing Street. Heath was the founding President of the European Community Youth Orchestra (in 1976), now the European Union Youth Orchestra.
Heath wrote several books in the second half of the 1970s: Sailing, Music, and Travels. He also compiled a collection of carols called The Joy of Christmas, published in 1978 by Oxford University Press, which contained the music and lyrics to a wide variety of Christmas carols, each accompanied by a reproduction of a piece of religious art and a short introduction by Heath.
Heath's autobiography, The Course of My Life, appeared in 1998. According to his Daily Telegraph obituary this "had involved dozens of researchers and writers (some of whom he never paid) over many years".
Private Eye, a satirical current affairs magazine, thereupon persistently ridiculed him as "Grocer Heath". The magazine parodied him as the managing director of a struggling small company, "Heathco".
Heath never married. He had been expected to marry childhood friend Kay Raven, who reportedly tired of waiting and married an RAF officer whom she met on holiday in 1950. In a four-sentence paragraph of his memoirs, Heath claimed that he had been too busy establishing a career after the war and had "perhaps ... taken too much for granted". In a 1998 TV interview with Michael Cockerell, Heath said that he had kept her photograph in his flat for many years afterwards.
His interest in music kept him on friendly terms with female musicians including pianist Moura Lympany. When Heath was Prime Minister she was approached by the Conservative MP Tufton Beamish, who said: "Moura, Ted must get married. Will you marry him?" She said she would have done but was in love with someone else. She later said the most intimate thing Heath had done was to put his arm around her shoulder.
Bernard Levin wrote at the time in The Observer that the UK had to wait until the emergence of the permissive society for a prime minister who was a virgin. In later life, according to his official biographer Philip Ziegler, at dinner parties Heath was "apt to relapse into morose silence or completely ignore the woman next to him and talk across her to the nearest man"; others at the time claimed Heath was just not talkative at parties.
John Campbell, who published a biography of Heath in 1993, devoted four pages to a discussion of the evidence concerning Heath's sexuality. While acknowledging that Heath was often assumed by the public to be gay, not least because it is "nowadays ... whispered of any bachelor", he found "no positive evidence" that this was so "except for the faintest unsubstantiated rumour" (the footnote refers to a mention of a "disturbing incident" at the beginning of the Second World War in a 1972 biography by Andrew Roth). Campbell ultimately concluded that the most significant aspect of Heath's sexuality was his complete repression of it.
Brian Coleman, the Conservative Party London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, claimed in 2007 that Heath, in order to protect his career, had stopped cottaging in the 1950s. Coleman said it was "common knowledge" among Conservatives that Heath had been given a stern warning by police when he underwent background checks for the post of Privy Councillor. Heath's biographer Philip Ziegler wrote in 2010 that Coleman was able to provide "little or no information" to back up this statement, that no man had ever claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Heath, nor was any trace of homosexuality to be found in his papers, and that "those who knew him well" insist that he had no such inclination. He believes Heath to have been asexual.
Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, who was Heath's friend and former Private Secretary, stated his belief that Heath was asexual, stating: he "never detected a whiff of sexuality in relation to men, women or children." Another friend and confidant, Sara Morrison, former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party, said Heath had "effectively" told her "that he was sexless". Charles Moore, in his authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, said that Bill Deedes believed that Thatcher "seem[ed] convinced" Heath was gay, whilst Moore believed it is "possible" that Thatcher's reference, in interview in 1974, to Heath not having a family, was a deliberate hint that he was gay, in order to discredit him.
In April 2015, a rape claim against Heath was investigated by the Metropolitan Police but was dropped. In August 2015, several police forces were investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by Heath. Hampshire, Jersey, Kent, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Thames Valley constabularies and London's Metropolitan Police investigated such claims.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) examined an allegation by a former senior police officer that a criminal prosecution of a brothel keeper, Myra Forde (who was convicted in a later case), for supplying underage girls to clients was not pursued by Wiltshire police after she reportedly "threatened to expose" that Heath may have been involved in offences concerning the abuse of children. There was a question as to whether the force properly investigated the claims of abuse, which had been made in the 1990s. In August 2015 Forde denied having any such knowledge or making any threat. Forde's counsel from that time issued a statement: "My former client wishes me to make it very clear that at no stage did she state that Ted Heath was a client and at no stage did she threaten to expose him as a client of hers if the prosecution was continued." The counsel for the prosecution in the case confirmed in a letter to The Times that the case was dropped because three prosecution witnesses had refused to testify, not because of any allegations against Heath. The Times reported in May 2016 that the IPCC had decided the claims of the former senior police officer were without foundation.
It was reported in the Daily Mirror in August 2015 that a man had claimed that at the age of 12 years he had been raped by Heath in a Mayfair flat in 1961, after he had run away from home. These allegations provoked several articles and responses. Allegations about Heath were being investigated as part of Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police inquiry into historical claims of child abuse and related homicides. A witness called "Nick" was introduced to the police by the former Exaro website, who had asked him about alleged child sexual abuse by prominent figures at the Dolphin Square apartment complex in Pimlico, London; Heath was reported to be one of the figures. "Nick" has since been arrested and charged over child porn offences to which he has pleaded guilty.
By September 2015, The Guardian reported that investigating officers were divided as to whether Operation Midland could continue as no firm corroborative evidence had been found. Sky News reported that Jersey police were investigating allegations against Heath as part of Operation Whistle, and a similar investigation (Operation Conifer) was launched by Wiltshire Police at the same time. The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, which operates the museum at Arundells, his home in Salisbury, said it welcomed the investigation.
In November 2016, The Guardian reported that a leading criminologist, Richard Hoskins, had stated that the evidence used against Heath in Operation Conifer, including discredited allegations of satanic ritual abuse, was "preposterous", "fantastical" and gained through the "controversial" practice of recovered-memory therapy. The Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner discussed the future of the investigation with the Wiltshire chief constable, Mike Veale. In December the same paper reported that 15 people had made complaints of sexual abuse against Heath. That same month, chief constable Veale issued a video statement in which he said the satanic ritual abuse allegation "does not relate to Sir Edward Heath".
In March 2017, Operation Conifer was closed having cost a reported £1.5 million over two years, as no corroborating evidence had been found in any of the total 42 allegations by 40 individuals (including three different names used by one person). In September it was announced that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse would review the police investigation into Heath. Police said that if Heath were still alive they would have interviewed him under caution in relation to seven out of the 42 allegations, but nothing should be inferred about his guilt or innocence. In his summary report, chief constable Veale confirmed that "no further corroborative evidence was found" to support the satanic abuse claims.
Heath was awarded many honorary degrees for his Service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. These include:
|England||1971||University of Oxford|
|England||19 July 1985||University of Kent||Doctor of Laws (LL.D)|
|Canada||7 June 1991||University of Calgary||Doctor of Laws (LL.D)|
|England||1994||Goldsmiths, University of London||Honorary Fellowship|
|England||21 June 1997||Open University||Doctor of the University (D.Univ)|
|Wales||1998||University of Wales||Doctor of Laws (LL.D)|
|England||18 July 2001||University of Greenwich||Doctor of Laws (LL.D)|
|England||—||Royal College of Music||Doctor of Music (D.Mus)|
|England||—||Royal College of Organists||Doctor of Music (D.Mus)|
Shirley Williams recalled sitting next to Ted Heath at a dinner and when she tried to speak to him, he declined to answer... She had turned to the man on her left and asked, 'Does Ted Heath not speak to women?' and he had answered, 'He doesn't speak to many people at all.'
by Peter Hennessy
| Junior Lord of the Treasury
Sir Edward Wakefield
1st Baron Hailes
| Government Chief Whip in the Commons
| Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury|
| Minister of Labour
The Viscount Blakenham
The Viscount Hailsham
| Lord Privy Seal
1st Baron Erroll
| President of the Board of Trade
|Post created|| Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
| Leader of the Opposition
| Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
| Leader of the Opposition
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Ashley Bramall
| Member of Parliament for Bexley
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Sidcup|
| Member of Parliament for Old Bexley and Sidcup
|Party political offices|
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
| Leader of the Conservative Party
| Father of the House
| Oldest sitting Member of Parliament
The Lord Callaghan of Cardiff
| Oldest living Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Baroness Thatcher
The 1965 Conservative Party leadership election was held in July 1965 to find a successor to Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
It was the first time that a formal election by the parliamentary party had taken place, previous leaders having emerged through a consultation process. This procedure had fallen into disrepute following the manoeuvrings over the leadership at the 1963 party conference which had led to the appointment of Douglas-Home, then a hereditary member of the House of Lords. The plans for how the election would work were published in February 1965, and agreed upon by the parliamentary party thereafter.1970 United Kingdom general election
The 1970 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 18 June 1970. It resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, which defeated the governing Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The Liberal Party, under its new leader Jeremy Thorpe, lost half their seats. The Conservatives, including the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), secured a majority of 31 seats. This general election was the first in which people could vote from the age of 18, after passage of the Representation of the People Act the previous year.
As of 2017, it is the earliest general election from which there remain members of the House of Commons who have a record of continuous service; Kenneth Clarke of the Conservatives and Dennis Skinner of Labour entered Parliament for the first time at this election. Clarke is the current Father of the House since the death of 86-year-old Gerald Kaufman in February 2017.
Most opinion polls prior to the election indicated a comfortable Labour victory, and put Labour up to 12.4% ahead of the Conservatives. On election day, however, a late swing gave the Conservatives a 3.4% lead and ended almost six years of Labour government, although Wilson remained leader of the Labour Party in opposition. Writing in the aftermath of the election, the political scientist Richard Rose described the Conservative victory as "surprising" and noted a significant shift in votes between the two main parties. The Times journalist George Clark wrote that the election would be "remembered as the occasion when the people of the United Kingdom hurled the findings of the opinion polls back into the faces of the pollsters".The result would provide the mandate for Edward Heath as Prime Minister to begin formal negotiations for the United Kingdom to become a member of the European Communities (EC)—or the "Common Market" as it was more widely known at the time, before it later became the European Union; the UK officially joined the EC on 1 January 1973, along with the Republic of Ireland and Denmark.
Prominent Labour figures George Brown and Jennie Lee were both defeated in their constituencies at this general election.
The 1970 general election was the last election prior to that of 1997 where the Labour Party received more than 40% of the popular vote, and also the last until the 2017 election where the third-largest party by number of votes (in this case the Liberals) achieved less than 10% of the vote.
The election was the last in which a nationwide UK party gained seats in Northern Ireland. The UUP sat with the Conservative Party at Westminster, traditionally taking the Conservative parliamentary whip. To all intents and purposes the UUP functioned as the Northern Ireland branch of the Conservative Party. In 1972, in protest over the permanent prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, the Westminster UUP MPs withdrew from the alliance.1971 United Kingdom local elections
Local elections were held in the United Kingdom in 1971, the year after the Conservatives under Edward Heath had taken office.
The opposition Labour Party, which had lost the general election in the previous year, enjoyed its best results since the 1945 local elections. They were able to win wards in cities including Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester which they had not even in 1945, as well as some wards they had not previously contested.
The Conservatives lost overall control of councils such as Harrow, Sutton, Basildon, Havant-Waterloo and Salford which had previously been considered safe for them.
The Liberals lost seats overall, despite making striking progress in Merseyside. Both the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru suffered very poor results.1975 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election
The 1975 Conservative Party leadership election was held in February 1975, in which the party's sitting MPs voted Margaret Thatcher as party leader on the second ballot. Previous leader Edward Heath stood aside after the first ballot, in which he unexpectedly finished behind Thatcher. The Conservatives were the official Opposition to the Labour government, so Thatcher also became Leader of the Opposition.Baron Elton
Baron Elton, of Headington in the County of Oxford, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1934 for the historian Godfrey Elton. As of 2009 the title is held by his son, the second Baron, who succeeded in 1973. He held minor office in the Conservative administrations of Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher and is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999.Bexley (UK Parliament constituency)
Bexley was a parliamentary constituency centred on the Bexley district of south-east London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.Edward Heath (New Orleans)
Edward Heath (1819–1892) was mayor of New Orleans from March 28, 1867 to June 10, 1868. His tenure came during the Reconstruction of Louisiana, and required a stronger personality than he brought to the office. During his term, he faced budgetary and racial problems as well as the continued interference of the military authorities of the U. S. Federal government.Elm Guest House claims and controversy
The Elm Guest House was a former hotel in Rocks Lane, near Barnes Common in south-west London. In a list produced by convicted fraudster Chris Fay, several prominent British men were alleged to have engaged in sexual abuse and child grooming at the Guest House in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Labour MP Tom Watson suggested in an October 2012 statement to the House of Commons that a paedophile network which had existed at this time may have brought children to parties at the private residence. During 2014 and 2015, allegations against several leading politicians of the period, mostly now deceased, were made public in the British press. Many of these claims were examined and discredited in an October 2015 episode of the BBC current affairs programme, Panorama.
The role of the guest house became the subject of a Metropolitan Police Service investigation known as Operation Fairbank in late 2012; the purpose of this "scoping exercise" was to assess Watson's claims. As a result of allegations arising from Operation Fairbank, a full criminal investigation called Operation Fernbridge was launched in February 2013. No further evidence into alleged abuse connected to the Elm Guest House was uncovered and the operation was closed in March 2015. Another investigation, Operation Midland, was set up to examine claims of possible homicide. A subsequent inquiry found that those investigated by Operation Midland had been victims of false allegations. In November 2016, the then-Metropolitan Police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, made a personal apology to the innocent parties involved.February 1974 United Kingdom general election
The February 1974 United Kingdom general election was held on the 28th day of that month. The Labour Party, led by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson made moderate gains, but was short of an overall majority. The Conservative Party, led by incumbent Edward Heath lost 37 seats, but achieved a slightly higher share of the vote than Labour. This resulted in a hung parliament, and Wilson became Prime Minister for a second time after Heath resigned due to being unable to form a coalition. Labour won 301 seats, 17 short of a majority.
This election saw Northern Ireland diverging heavily from the rest of the United Kingdom, with all twelve MPs elected being from local parties (eleven of them representing unionist parties), following the decision of the Ulster Unionists to withdraw support from the Conservative Party in protest over the Sunningdale Agreement. The Scottish National Party achieved significant success in this election. They increased their share of the popular vote in Scotland from 11% to 22% and their number of MPs rose from 1 to 7. There were also the first Plaid Cymru MPs to be elected in a general election in Wales (they had previously won a by-election).
Although the incumbent Conservative government of Edward Heath polled the most votes by a small margin, the Conservatives were overtaken in terms of seats by Harold Wilson's Labour Party due to a more efficiently-distributed Labour vote, and the decision by Ulster Unionist MPs not to take the Conservative whip.
The two largest parties both lost a considerable share of the popular vote, largely to the Liberals under Jeremy Thorpe who polled two and a half times the share of the national vote that they had achieved in the previous election. But even with over six million votes, only 14 Liberal MPs were elected. There had been some media expectation that the Liberals could take twice as many seats.Heath did not resign immediately as Prime Minister. Assuming that Northern Ireland's Unionist MPs could be persuaded to support a Conservative government on confidence matters over one led by Wilson, he entered into negotiations with Thorpe to form a coalition government. Thorpe, never enthusiastic about supporting the Conservatives, demanded major electoral reforms in exchange for such an agreement. Unwilling to accept such terms, Heath resigned and Wilson returned for his second stint as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Labour did not have enough seats to combine with another party to achieve an overall majority. This made the formation of a stable government in this Parliament a practical impossibility. Wilson was widely expected from the outset to call another general election before long, and this happened in October that year.
The election night was covered live on the BBC, and was presented by Alastair Burnet, David Butler, Robert McKenzie and Robin Day.Prominent members of Parliament who retired or were defeated at this election included Gordon Campbell, Bernadette McAliskey, Enoch Powell, Richard Crossman, Tom Driberg and Patrick Gordon Walker. It was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, the first election to take place after the United Kingdom became a member of the European Communities on 1 January 1973 and also the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons for the winning party.First Shadow Cabinet of Edward Heath
The First Shadow Cabinet of Edward Heath was created on 28 July 1965 after the Conservative Party elected Edward Heath as its leader, replacing Sir Alec Douglas-Home.Heath ministry
Edward Heath of the Conservative Party formed the Heath ministry and was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II on 19 June 1970, following the 18 June general election. Heath's ministry ended after the February 1974 general election, which produced a hung parliament, leading to the formation of a minority government by Harold Wilson of the Labour Party.
Heath had been elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1965 to succeed Alec Douglas-Home, within a few months of the party's election defeat after 13 years in government. His first general election as leader the following year ended in defeat as Wilson's Labour government increased its majority. The Conservatives enjoyed a surge in support over the next two years as the British economy went through a period of fluctuation being growth and contraction, with unemployment rising significantly, but when Harold Wilson called a general election for June 1970, the opinion polls all pointed towards a third successive Labour victory. It was a major surprise when the Conservatives won with a majority of 30 seats.Heath's government initially enjoyed a strong economy and relatively low unemployment, and on 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom became a member state of the European Communities, principally the European Economic Community (the Common Market). But then came the 1973 oil crisis, and just before Christmas, Heath declared a "three day week" in which the use of offices, factories and most public buildings was reduced to three days a week. He also faced a battle with the unions over pay freezes and restraints, which sparked a rise in strikes. The economy also entered a recession.
Heath's response in February 1974 was to call a general election, urging the voters to decide whether it was the government or the unions which ran Britain. The election on 28 February 1974 resulted in a hung parliament, in which the Tories had the most votes but Labour had the most seats. After talks with the Liberals about forming a coalition government failed, Labour formed a minority government on 4 March. A second general election was widely anticipated later in 1974, and was called by Harold Wilson for 10 October, in which the Labour Party gained a three-seat majority. This meant that Wilson had now won four of the five general elections he had contested, while Heath had now lost three of his four general elections, and it seemed inevitable that his leadership would soon end.Morning Cloud
Morning Cloud was the name given by the British politician Edward Heath to a series of five yachts which he owned between 1969 and 1983.October 1974 United Kingdom general election
The October 1974 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members of the British House of Commons. It was the second general election held that year, and the first year that two general elections were held in a single year since 1910, 64 years earlier. The election resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson winning a narrow majority of just 3 seats.
The election of February that year had produced an unexpected hung parliament. Coalition talks between the Conservatives and other parties such as the Liberals and the Ulster Unionists failed, allowing Labour leader Harold Wilson to form a minority government. The October campaign was not as vigorous or exciting as the one in February. Despite continuing high inflation, Labour was able to boast that it had ended the miners' strike, which had dogged Heath's premiership, and had returned some stability. The Conservative Party, still led by Edward Heath, released a manifesto promoting national unity; however, its chances of forming a government were hindered by the Ulster Unionist Party refusing to take the Conservative whip at Westminster, in response to the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973.
At the election, the Labour Party won 319 seats, allowing it to form a majority government, albeit with a narrow majority of only 3. The Conservatives and the Liberals each saw their vote share decline, and Conservative Party leader Edward Heath, who had lost three of the four elections he contested, was ousted as party leader in February 1975 and replaced with future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Scottish National Party won 30% of the Scottish popular vote and 11 of Scotland's 71 seats; it was their most successful general election result until 2015, where they won 56 of 59 Scottish seats and replaced the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party in Westminster.
Subsequently, Labour's narrow parliamentary majority had disappeared by 1977 through a series of by-election losses and defections. It then required deals with the Liberals, the Ulster Unionists, the Scottish Nationalists and the Welsh Nationalists.
This was the last general election victory for the Labour Party until 1997; the next four consecutive general elections all produced an outright Conservative victory.
The election was broadcast live on the BBC, and was presented by David Butler, Alastair Burnet, Robert McKenzie, Robin Day and Sue Lawley.Operation Whistle
Operation Whistle is an investigation by the States of Jersey Police into allegations of historical sexual abuse of children in Jersey. In a press release by the States of Jersey Police, they have stated that it is being carried on under the auspices of Operation Hydrant. It is cooperating with Operation Yewtree due to the involvement of entertainer Jimmy Savile.Sky News have reported that the scope of the investigation includes allegations relating to activities at the Haut de la Garenne children's home, and that Jersey police have confirmed that allegations against the former British prime minister Edward Heath feature as part of the investigation.On 25 September 2015, the States of Jersey Police said they had identified thirty-two victims and sixty suspects, many now dead; fourteen suspects were prominent figures and sixteen victims said they had been assaulted by Savile. Two suspects had been formally charged.Second Shadow Cabinet of Edward Heath
The Second Shadow Cabinet of Edward Heath was created after the Conservative Party lost the February 1974 general election. It was led by the Leader of the Conservative Party Edward Heath and featured prominent Conservative politicians both past and future. Included was Heath’s successor Margaret Thatcher, the future Home Secretary William Whitelaw, and two future Foreign Secretaries, Lord Carrington and Francis Pym. For the first time in history, a leadership election was held in 1975 for the Conservative Party whilst the position was not vacant. Margaret Thatcher challenged Heath, with whom the majority of the party was dissatisfied because of repeated losses at elections. She won, becoming the first female leader of a major political party in Britain.Selsdon Group
The Selsdon Group is a British free-market economics pressure group, closely associated with the Conservative Party. Selsdon Group members believe that economic freedom is the indispensable condition for political and social freedom. The group's President is the Rt. Hon. John Redwood, MP.
It was created in 1973 by a group of young libertarian Conservatives with David Alexander as the first chairman and Nicholas Ridley as first president to promote free-market economic policies, following an intensive discussion to generate ideas at the Selsdon Park Hotel in Selsdon, with Edward Heath and his shadow cabinet in 1970. Another early patron was Lord Coleraine.
In January 1970, Sir Edward Heath held a brainstorming session of the shadow cabinet at The Selsdon Park Hotel near Croydon, Surrey. The aim of the meeting was to formulate policies for the 1970 General Election manifesto. The result was a radical free market agenda, condemned by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, as the work of "Selsdon Man". Wilson lost the subsequent General Election to Heath. After a short period, however, Heath abandoned the 1970 manifesto in the face of bitter opposition from the trade unions. This historic U-turn was the catalyst for the formation of the Selsdon Group in 1973. A handful of young libertarian Conservatives, including David Alexander (chairman), Stephen Eyres, Philip Vander Elst, Anthony Vander Elst, and Richard S. Henderson created the new group with Nicholas Ridley MP as president to uphold and promote the free market policies that they believed had won the Conservative Party the 1970 General Election. Early members, however, informally stressed that the Group commemorated and advanced the general principles of the Selsdon declaration, rather than the detail of what they regarded as an inadequate document.
The "Selsdon Declaration", to which all members must subscribe, was adopted at the Selsdon Group's first meeting at the Selsdon Park Hotel in September 1973. Nicholas Ridley closed his keynote speech at that meeting by citing the "Ten Cannots" of William J. H. Boetcker, adding that they "could well become the guiding principle of the Selsdon Group". The group was criticised by many figures within the Conservative Party establishment at the time. Many of its policies, however, influenced later governments led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major.Sidcup (UK Parliament constituency)
Sidcup was a parliamentary constituency centred on Sidcup, an outer suburb of London in the London Borough of Bexley. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The constituency was created for the February 1974 general election, and abolished for the 1983 general election, when it was partially replaced by the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency. It was represented by the Prime Minister for four days in 1974, between the indecisive February general election and Edward Heath's resignation as Prime Minister on 4 March.Ted Heath (bandleader)
George Edward "Ted" Heath (30 March 1902 – 18 November 1969) was an English musician and big band leader.
Heath led what is widely considered Britain's greatest post-war big band recording more than 100 albums which sold over 20 million copies. The most successful band in Britain during the 1950s, it remained in existence as a ghost band long after Heath died, surviving in such a form until 2000.V.I.P. (talk show)
V.I.P. (subtitled Very Interesting People) was a Canadian talk show that aired from 1973 to 1983, generally during the Canadian summer months. Lorraine Thomson was host/interviewer.
Group of Seven artist A. J. Casson 
actress Nanette Fabray 
actor John Forsythe 
musician André Gagnon 
actor Lorne Greene 
British Prime Minister Edward Heath
astronaut James Irwin 
actor George "Spanky" McFarland of Our Gang 
British actress Anna Russell 
hockey player Darryl SittlerEpisodes from this series were rebroadcast on Canadian cable network Bravo from 1998 to 2002.
|President of the Board of Trade|
20 October 1963 – 16 October 1964
|Prime Minister||Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
|Preceded by||Fred Erroll|
|Succeeded by||Douglas Jay|
|Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development|
20 October 1963 – 16 October 1964
|Prime Minister||Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
|Preceded by||Position created|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Lord Privy Seal|
14 February 1960 – 18 October 1963
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Hailsham|
|Succeeded by||Selwyn Lloyd|
|Minister of Labour|
14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960
|Prime Minister||Harold Macmillan|
|Preceded by||Iain Macleod|
|Succeeded by||John Hare|
|Chief Whip of the House of Commons|
& Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
7 April 1955 – 14 June 1959
|Preceded by||Patrick Buchan-Hepburn|
|Succeeded by||Martin Redmayne|
|Lord Commissioner of the Treasury|
7 November 1951 – 20 December 1955
|Preceded by||William Wilkins|
|Succeeded by||Edward Wakefield|
Shadow Cabinet offices
|Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer|
27 October 1964 – 27 July 1965
|Leader||Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
|Preceded by||Reginald Maudling|
|Succeeded by||Iain Macleod|
|Member of Parliament|
for Old Bexley and Sidcup
23 February 1950 – 7 June 2001
|Preceded by||Ashley Bramall|
|Succeeded by||Derek Conway|
Order of the British Empire (Appointed MBE, 1946)