The Full Wiki

Edward Heath: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Edward Heath

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Sir Edward Heath 

In office
19 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Harold Wilson
Succeeded by Harold Wilson

In office
4 March 1974 – 11 February 1975
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Harold Wilson
Succeeded by Margaret Thatcher
In office
28 July 1965 – 19 June 1970
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Alec Douglas Home
Succeeded by Harold Wilson

In office
20 October 1963 – 16 October 1964
Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded by Fred Erroll
Succeeded by Douglas Jay

In office
14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Iain MacLeod
Succeeded by John Hare

In office
14 February 1960 – 18 October 1963
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Quintin Hogg
Succeeded by Selwyn Lloyd

In office
7 April 1955 – 14 June 1959
Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Patrick Buchan-Hepburn
Succeeded by Martin Redmayne

In office
9 April 1992 – 7 June 2001
Prime Minister John Major
Tony Blair
Preceded by Bernard Braine
Succeeded by Tam Dalyell

Member of Parliament
for Bexley
In office
23 February 1950 – 28 Feb 1974
Preceded by Ashley Bramall
Succeeded by Constituency abolished

Member of Parliament
for Sidcup
In office
28 Feb 1974 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Constituency abolished

Member of Parliament
for Old Bexley and Sidcup
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Derek Conway

Born 9 July 1916(1916-07-09)
Broadstairs, Kent, UK
Died 17 July 2005 (aged 89)
Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Profession Journalist/ Civil Servant
Religion Anglican
Military service
Service/branch British Army
*Royal Artillery
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War II

Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005) was a British Conservative politician, who served one term as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. Heath's accession marked a change in the leadership of the Conservative Party from aristocratic figures such as Harold Macmillan and the former Earl of Home, to the meritocratic Heath and Margaret Thatcher, his successor.

Publicly noted for his enthusiasms for classical and church music and for sailing, his shoulder-shaking laughter and confirmed bachelor status, as a statesman he is remembered as the prime minister who took Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. His premiership was also marked by an escalation of The Troubles in Northern Ireland and the industrial disputes of the early 1970s.


Early life

Edward (or "Teddy" as he was known as a young man) Heath was born the son of a carpenter and a maid from Broadstairs in Kent. His father was later a successful small businessman. 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. A talented musician, he 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. In later life Heath's peculiar accent - with its "strangulated" vowel sounds - was satirised by the 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).[1] 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".

While at university Heath became active in Conservative politics. However, 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 1936, was in opposition to the appeasement of Germany by returning her colonies, confiscated after the First World War.[citation needed] In June 1937 he was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association as a pro-Spanish-Republican candidate, in opposition to the pro-Franco John Stokes (later a Conservative MP). In 1937-8 he was also chairman of the national Federation of University Conservative Associations, and in the same year (his third at University) he was Secretary then Librarian of the Oxford Union. At the end of the year, however, 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 Oxford by-election, 1938. Heath, who had himself applied to be the Conservative candidate for the by-election,[2] accused the government in an October Union Debate of "turning all four cheeks" to 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 Nazi Party Nuremberg Rally in 1937, where he met top 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".[3] In 1938 he visited Barcelona, then under attack from Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. In the summer of 1939 he again travelled across Germany, returning to England just before the declaration of war.

World War II

Heath spent the winter of 1939-40 on a debating tour of the United States before being called up, and early in 1941 was commissioned in the Royal Artillery. During World War II 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 rank of Captain. Later, now a Major commanding a battery of his own, he provided artillery support in the North-West Europe Campaign of 1944-1945.

He 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 to execute a Polish soldier convicted of rape and murder, a fact that he did not reveal until his memoirs were published in 1998. After demobilisation as a Lieutenant-colonel in August 1946 Heath joined the Honourable Artillery Company, 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.

Post war

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 instead passed top into the Civil Service. 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).[4] He resigned in November 1947 after his adoption as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Bexley.

After working as Editor of the Church Times from 1948 to 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, with a majority of 133 votes.

Member of Parliament

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, unknown candidate for neighbouring Dartford, Margaret Roberts, soon to become Margaret Thatcher.

In February 1951, Heath was appointed as an Opposition Whip by Winston Churchill. He remained in the Whip's 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. Because of 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 Anthony 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 was instrumental in eventually securing Macmillan the premiership in January 1957.[citation needed] Macmillan later appointed Heath Minister of Labour after the successful 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 Common Market (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. 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 controls.

Leadership bid

After the Conservative Party lost the general election of 1964, the defeated Douglas-Home changed the party leadership rules to allow for an MP ballot vote, 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.[5] Heath became the Tories' youngest leader and retained office after the party's defeat in the general election of 1966.

Leader of the Opposition

Heath sacked Enoch Powell from the Shadow Cabinet in April 1968, shortly after Powell made his "Rivers of Blood" speech which criticised the recent mass immigration of Commonwealth immigrants to the United Kingdom and predicted dire consequences if such immigration continued.

Heath never spoke to Powell again. Powell had not notified Conservative Central Office of his intention to deliver the speech, and this was put forward as one reason for his dismissal.

When Powell died on 8 February 1998, Heath was asked for his reaction, but he simply told the media: "I won't be making a statement."

Prime minister

With another general election approaching in 1970 a Conservative policy document emerged from the Selsdon Park Hotel that, according to some historians,[6] offered monetarist and 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 prime minister, Harold Wilson, thought the document a vote-loser and dubbed it Selsdon Man in order to portray it as reactionary. But Heath's Conservative Party won the general election of 1970.

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).

Heath's time in office was as difficult as that of all British prime ministers in the 1970s. The government suffered an early blow with the death of Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod on 20 July 1970; his replacement was 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 (the so-called "U-Turn"). From this point the economy was inflated in an attempt to bring unemployment down, the so-called "Barber Boom".

Heath attempted to rein in the increasingly militant trade union movement, which had so far managed to stop attempts to curb their power by legal means. His Industrial Relations Act set up a special court under the judge Lord Donaldson, whose imprisonment of striking dockworkers was a public relations disaster that the Thatcher Government of the 1980s would take pains to avoid repeating (relying instead on confiscating the assets of unions found to have broken new anti-strike laws). Heath's attempt to confront trade union power resulted in a political battle, hobbled as the government was 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.

Heath's government did not curtail welfare spending, though at one point the squeeze in the education budget resulted in Margaret Thatcher, then Secretary of State for Education and Science, acting on the late Iain Macleod's wishes, ending the provision of free school milk from 8 to 11 year olds (the preceding Labour Government having removed it from secondary schools three years before) for which the tabloid press christened her "Thatcher the Milk Snatcher".[7] She did however succeed in blocking Macleod's other posthumous Education policy of abolishing the Open University recently founded by the preceding Labour Government.[8]

Heath's government's 1972 Local Government Act changed the boundaries of England's counties and created "Metropolitan Counties" around the major cities (e.g. Merseyside around Liverpool): this caused significant public anger. However, Heath did not divide England into regions, choosing instead to await the report of the Crowther Commission on the constitution; the ten Government Office Regions were eventually set up by the Major government in 1994.

The decimalisation of British coinage, begun under the previous Labour Government, was completed eight months after he came to power. He established the Central Policy Review Staff in February 1971.[9]

Foreign policy

Heath took the United Kingdom into the European Community in 1973. In October 1973 he placed a British arms embargo on all combatants in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war that mainly affected the Israelis in obtaining spares for their Centurion tanks. 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 also maintained a good relationship with US President Richard Nixon and figures in the Iraqi Baath party.

Northern Ireland

Heath depicted in a political cartoon as a uniformed British soldier in conflict with the Irish in Northern Ireland

Heath governed during a bloody period in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles. On Bloody Sunday in 1972 14 unarmed men were killed by British soldiers during an illegal march in Derry. In 2003 he gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry and stated that he had never sanctioned unlawful lethal force in Northern Ireland. In July 1972 he permitted his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, to hold unofficial talks in London with a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) delegation by Seán Mac Stiofáin. In the aftermath of these unsuccessful talks the Heath government pushed for a peaceful settlement with the democratic political parties.

The 1973 Sunningdale Agreement was strongly repudiated by many Unionists and the Ulster Unionist Party withdrew its MPs at Westminster from the Conservative whip. 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 in his constituency at Broadstairs, Kent and arrived home 10 minutes after the bomb exploded. No one was injured in the attack but a landscape portrait painted by Winston Churchill — given to Heath as a present — was damaged.[10]

Fall from power

1974 general elections

Heath tried to bolster his government by calling a general election for 28 February 1974. The result of the election was inconclusive with no party gaining an overall majority in the House of Commons. 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 Harold Wilson's minority Labour government, eventually confirmed, though with a tiny majority, in a second election in October of the same year.

The Centre for Policy Studies, a Conservative group closely involved with the 1970 Selsdon document, began to formulate a new monetarist and free-market policy, initially led by Sir Keith Joseph. Although Margaret Thatcher was associated with the CPS she was initially seen as a potential moderate go-between by Heath's lieutenant James Prior.

The rise of Thatcher

Heath came to be seen as a liability by many Conservative MPs, party activists and newspaper editors. He resolved to remain Conservative leader and at first it appeared that by calling on the loyalty of his front bench colleagues he might prevail. At the time the Conservative leadership rules allowed for an election to fill a vacancy but contained no provision for a sitting leader to either seek a fresh mandate or be challenged.[citation needed] In late 1974 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 Sir Keith Joseph had ruled himself out after controversial statements implying that the working classes should be encouraged to use more birth control. However Joseph's close friend and ally Margaret Thatcher, who believed an adherent to CPS philosophy should stand, joined the leadership contest in his place alongside the outsider Hugh Fraser.[6] Aided by Airey Neave's campaigning amongst back-bench MPs – whose earlier approach to William Whitelaw had been rebuffed out of loyalty to Heath – she emerged as the only serious challenger.[6]

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.[11][12]

On 4 February 1975, Thatcher defeat 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 withdrew from the second 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).

When Thatcher visited Heath the day after her election as leader, accounts differ as to whether or not she offered him a place in her shadow cabinet – by some accounts she was detained for coffee by a colleague so that the waiting press would not realise how brief the meeting had been.[13] Heath stated that he had already informed her that he did not want a place and that the purpose of her visit was to seek his advice as to how to handle the press. Nonetheless after the 1979 general election he was offered, and declined, the post of British Ambassador to the United States.

Later career

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 Party Conference. 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. He campaigned in the 1975 referendum in which Britain 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. In 1990 he flew to Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of British aircraft passengers taken hostage when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. After Black Wednesday in 1992 he stated in the House of Commons that government should build a fund of reserves to counter currency speculators.

In the 1960s Heath had lived at a flat in the Albany, off Piccadilly; at the unexpected end of his premiership he took the flat of a Conservative MP Tim Kitson for some months. In February 1985 Heath moved to Salisbury, where he resided until his death over 20 years later. In 1987 he was nominated in the election for the Chancellorship of the University of Oxford but came third, behind Roy Jenkins and Lord Blake.

Heath continued to serve as a back bench 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 23rd April 1992.[14]. He retired from Parliament before the 2001 general election.

Parliament broke with precedent by commissioning a bust of Heath while he was still alive.[15] The 1993 bronze work, by Martin Jennings, was moved to the Members' Lobby in 2002.


Heath's monument in Salisbury Cathedral.

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 final ever public appearance was at the unveiling of a set of gates to Winston Churchill at St Paul's Cathedral on 30 November 2004.

Heath paid tribute to James Callaghan when he died on 26 March 2005 saying that "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"[16].

This was his last public statement. 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 fifteen hundred people. As a tribute, the day after his death the BBC Parliament channel showed the BBC 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 January 2006, it was announced that Heath had left £5 million in his will, most of it to a charitable foundation to conserve his eighteenth-century house, Arundells, next to Salisbury Cathedral. As he had no descendants, he left only two legacies: £20,000 to his brother's widow, and £2500 to his housekeeper.[17]


The house where Heath used to live in Salisbury, opposite the Cathedral, is open to the public for guided tours from March to September. The house preserves a large collection of personal effects as well as his personal library, photo collections and paintings by Winston Churchill.[18]

Personal life


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 Sailing Club in his home town Broadstairs. In 1970 he nearly achieved the unique accolade of being the only British Prime Minister to win the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award, being narrowly beaten to the title by boxer Henry Cooper. Heath's hobby is referenced in the 2008 film The Bank Job where it is said that the Prime Minister himself may meet with the bank robbers "if you can drag him off his yacht".[19]

Prime Minister conducting the LSO in Elgar's Cockaigne


Heath also maintained an interest in orchestral music as an organist and 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, Kent, every year from his teens until old age. Heath often played the organ for services at Holy Trinity Church Brompton 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 U.S. Heath received honorary degrees from the Royal College of Music and Royal College of Organists. 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 Downing Street.

In 1988, Heath recorded Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Op. 56 and Boccherini's Cello Concerto in G major, G480.

Performing arts

Heath enjoyed the performing arts as a whole. In particular, he gave a great deal of support to performing arts causes in his constituency and was known to be proud of the fact that his constituency boasted two of the country's leading performing arts schools. Rose Bruford College and Bird College are both situated in Sidcup, and a purpose built facility for the latter was officially opened by Heath in 1979.

Heath also wrote a book called The Joy of Christmas: A Collection of Carols, published in 1978 by Oxford University Press and including 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.


He wrote three non-political books, Sailing, Music, and Travels, and an autobiography, The Course of My Life (1998). The latter took 14 years to produce; Heath's obituary in the Daily Telegraph alleged that he never paid many of the ghost-writers.


Heath was a lifelong bachelor and perhaps chaste. Heath's interest in music kept him on friendly terms with a number of female musicians including Moura Lympany, and he always had the company of women when social circumstances required. Lympany had thought he would marry her, but when asked about the most intimate thing he had done, replied, "He put his arm around my shoulder."[20]

John Campbell, who published a biography of Heath in 1993, devoted four pages to a discussion of the evidence concerning Heath's sexuality. Whilst 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 actually so "except for the faintest unsubstantiated rumour" (the footnote refers to a mention of a "disturbing incident" at the beginning of the war in a 1972 biography by Andrew Roth).[21] Campbell also pointed out that Heath was at least as likely to be a repressed heterosexual (given his awkwardness with women) although he thought it unlikely that he was "asexual" given how "unrelaxed" he was about sexual matters, and concluded that the fact of Heath's sublimation of his sexuality was more important than what his original inclinations had been.

Heath 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 terse 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 admitted that he had kept her photograph in his flat for many years afterwards.

After Heath's death, Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman wrote for New Statesman in 2007 on the issue of outing, "The late Ted Heath managed to obtain the highest office of state after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the 1950s when he became a privy councillor" suggesting that Heath was gay[22][23] The claim was denied by MP Sir Peter Tapsell and Heath's friend and MP Derek Conway stated that "if there was some secret, I'm sure it would be out by now".[24][25]

Titles from birth

  • Edward Heath, Esq (9 July 1916–1992)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Edward Heath (1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Edward Heath, MBE (1946)
  • Edward Heath, Esq, MBE (?-23 February 1950)
  • Edward Heath, Esq, MBE, MP (23 February 1950–1955)
  • The Right Honourable Edward Heath, MBE, MP (1955–24 April 1992)
  • The Right Honourable Sir Edward Heath, KG, MBE, MP (24 April 1992–7 June 2001)
  • The Right Honourable Sir Edward Heath, KG, MBE (7 June 2001– 17 July 2005)


Heath was persistently referred to as "The Grocer", or "Grocer Heath" by magazine Private Eye. The nickname, based upon the 1967 hit song "Excerpt From A Teenage Opera", was used periodically, but became a permanent fixture in the magazine after he fought the 1970 General Election on a promise to reduce the price of groceries.

Edward Heath's Government (June 1970 – March 1974)


  • July 1970 — Iain Macleod dies, and is succeeded as Chancellor by Anthony Barber. Geoffrey Rippon succeeds Barber as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. John Davies succeeds Rippon as Secretary for Technology.
  • October 1970 — The Ministry of Technology and the Board of Trade are merged to become the Department of Trade and Industry. John Davies becomes Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Michael Noble leaves the cabinet. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is succeeded by the new department of the Environment which was headed by Peter Walker.
  • March 1972 — Robert Carr succeeds William Whitelaw as Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons. Maurice Macmillan succeeds Carr as Secretary for Employment. Whitelaw becomes Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
  • July 1972 — Robert Carr succeeds Reginald Maudling as Home Secretary. James Prior succeeds Robert Carr as Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons. Joseph Godber succeeds Prior as Secretary for Agriculture.
  • November 1972 — Geoffrey Rippon succeeds Peter Walker as Secretary for the Environment. John Davies succeeds Rippon as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Peter Walker succeeds Davies as Secretary for Trade and Industry. Geoffrey Howe becomes Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs with a seat in the cabinet.
  • June 1973 — Lord Windlesham succeeds Lord Jellicoe as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords.
  • December 1973 — William Whitelaw succeeds Maurice Macmillan as Secretary for Employment. Francis Pym succeeds Whitelaw as Secretary for Northern Ireland. Macmillan becomes Paymaster-General.
  • January 1974 — Ian Gilmour succeeds Lord Carrington as Secretary for Defence; Lord Carrington becomes Secretary of State for Energy.

Honorary degrees



  • Heath, Edward. Sailing: A Course of My Life. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1975.
  • Heath, Edward. Music: A Joy for Life. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1976.
  • Heath, Edward. Travels: People and Places in My Life. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1977.
  • Heath, Edward. The Course of My Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998.


  • Ball, Stuart & Seldon, Anthony (editors). The Heath Government: 1970-1974: A Reappraisal. London: Longman, 1996.
  • Campbell, John. Edward Heath: A Biography. London: Jonathan Cape, 1993.
  • Holmes, Martin. The Failure of the Heath Government. Basingstoke: Longman, 1997.


  1. ^ Learn How To Speak Propah English - Ted Heath | Teach Yourself Heath
  2. ^ Heath, Edward. The Course of My Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p58
  3. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Jul 2005 (pt. 6), 2005,, retrieved 30 Mar. 2009 
  4. ^ Heath, Edward. The Course of My Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p111
  5. ^ BBC ON THIS DAY | 27 | 1965: Heath is new Tory leader
  6. ^ a b c Young, Hugo. One Of Us London: MacMillan, 1989
  7. ^ Young, Hugo (1989) One Of Us London: Macmillan
  8. ^ Young, Hugo (1989)
  9. ^ Greenwood, John R.; Wilson, David Jack (1989). Public administration in Britain today. Routledge. pp. 58. ISBN 9780044451952. 
  10. ^ Channel 4 - History - The Year London Blew Up
  11. ^ Campbell, John The Grocer's Daughter
  12. ^ Heath, Edward. The Course of My Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, p532
  13. ^ Heath, Edward,"The Course of My Life", London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, P537
  14. ^ Official announcement of knighthood for Heath - The London Gazette, issue 52903, 24 april 1992
  15. ^ UK Parliament: Unveiling of a Statue of Baroness Thatcher in Members Lobby, House of Commons Commentators have noted how the statue of Margaret Thatcher appears to overshadow Heath's bust.
  16. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | 'Tough operator' remembered
  17. ^ BBC NEWS | Politics | Former PM Heath left £5m in will
  18. ^ Arundells
  19. ^ The Bank Job (2008) - Memorable quotes
  20. ^ The Guardian, 19 March 2001
  21. ^ Heath was told to stop gay sex activity, Tory claims
  22. ^ The closet is a lonely place
  23. ^ Heath warned about gay sex trysts
  25. ^ PM Ted 'cruised for gay sex' | The Sun |HomePage|News
  26. ^
  27. ^ CONTENTdm Collection : Browse
  28. ^
  29. ^ Press release

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William Wilkins
Junior Lord of the Treasury
1951 – 1955
Succeeded by
Edward Wakefield
Preceded by
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
(Government Chief Whip)

1955 – 1959
Succeeded by
Martin Redmayne
Preceded by
Iain MacLeod
Minister of Labour
1959 – 1960
Succeeded by
John Hare
Preceded by
The Viscount Hailsham
Lord Privy Seal
1960 – 1963
Succeeded by
Selwyn Lloyd
Preceded by
Fred Erroll
Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and President of the Board of Trade
1963 – 1964
Succeeded by
Douglas Jay
Preceded by
Alec Douglas-Home
Leader of the Opposition
1965 – 1970
Succeeded by
Harold Wilson
Preceded by
Harold Wilson
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
19 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
Leader of the Opposition
1974 – 1975
Succeeded by
Margaret Thatcher
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ashley Bramall
Member of Parliament for Bexley
1950 – 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Sidcup
1974 – 1983
Member of Parliament for Old Bexley and Sidcup
1983 – 2001
Succeeded by
Derek Conway
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alec Douglas-Home
Leader of the British Conservative Party
1965 – 1975
Succeeded by
Margaret Thatcher
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Bernard Braine
Father of the House
1992 – 2001
Succeeded by
Tam Dalyell
Preceded by
Michael Foot
Oldest sitting Member of Parliament
1992 – 2001
Succeeded by
Piara Khabra
Preceded by
James Callaghan
Oldest UK Prime Minister still living
26 March 2005 – 17 July 2005
Succeeded by
Margaret Thatcher


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sir Edward Richard George Heath KG MBE (9 July, 191617 July, 2005) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for three and a half years at the beginning of the 1970s. Heath, who was a Conservative, broke with the tradition of upper-class and aristocratic leaders, as the son of a carpenter. Elected as an MP in 1950, he rose through the ministerial ranks during the 1950s and 1960s, winning the leadership of his party in 1965. Despite some personal unpopularity, he unexpectedly won the 1970 general election. In power his government successfully took the United Kingdom into the European Community but suffered economic difficulties and trade union unrest. Seeking to establish a mandate to take on striking miners, Heath called an early general election in 1974 and lost. He was deposed from the leadership by Margaret Thatcher in 1975 and a large part of his subsequent life seemed to be spent complaining about her policies.



  • The British government and the British people have been through a searching debate during the last few years on the subject of their relations with Europe. The result of this debate has been our present application. It was a decision arrived at, not on any narrow or short-term grounds, but as a result of a thorough assessment over a considerable period of the needs of our own country, of Europe and of the free world as a whole. We recognise it as a great decision, a turning point in our history, and we take it in all seriousness. In saying that we wish to join the EEC, we mean that we desire to become full, whole-hearted and active members of the European Community in its widest sense and to go forward with you in the building of a new Europe.
    • Edward Heath, "The Course of My Life" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998), p. 214
    • Opening statement at the United Kingdom application to join the EEC in Paris, 10 October 1961.
  • The end of the negotiations is a blow to the cause of the wider European unity for which we have been striving. We are a part of Europe, by geography, history, culture, tradition and civilization ... There have been times in the history of Europe when it has been only too plain how European we are; and there have been many millions of people who have been grateful for it. I say to my colleagues: they should have no fear. We in Britain are not going to turn out backs on the mainland of Europe or the countries of the Community.
    • Edward Heath, "The Course of My Life" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998), p. 235
    • Speech at European conference after France vetoed the British application to join the EEC, 28 January 1963.
  • Action, not words.
    • Title of 1966 Conservative election manifesto (publication GE 1).
  • Robin Day: How low does your personal popularity have to go before you consider yourself a liability to the party you lead?
    Edward Heath: Popularity isn't everything.
    • Interview in "Britain Today", BBC 1, 24 June 1969.
  • I have always had a hidden wish, a frustrated desire, to run a hotel.
    • Speech at the Hotel Exhibition, Olympia, 1969.
  • This would, at a stroke, reduce the rise in prices, increase production and reduce unemployment.
    • Part of the prepared text of a speech on proposals to reduce taxation, 1970. In fact the sentence was never delivered in the speech but was distributed to journalists and highlighted in press reports.
  • This was a secret meeting on a secret tour which nobody is supposed to know about. It means that there are men, and perhaps women, in this country walking around with eggs in their pockets, just on the off-chance of seeing the Prime Minister.
    • BBC News 'On this day'; Edward Heath, "The Course of My Life" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998), p. 305
    • Remarks to the press after Harold Wilson was hit by eggs thrown by demonstrators on two successive days, 1 June 1970.
  • It was wildly exciting. It certainly wasn't the highest feeling I've ever had, but it was one of them. In those days, security was not as good as today. Just afterwards, some chap was able to get at me and stab the back of my neck with a cigarette. It wasn't very pleasant.
    • Describing the scene at Conservative central office after winning the 1970 general election.
  • We may be a small island, but we are not a small people.
    • Speech, June 1970.
  • We will have to embark on a change so radical, a revolution so quiet and yet so total, that it will go far beyond the programme for a parliament.
    • October 1970 speech to the Conservative Party conference.
  • It is the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism, but one should not suggest that the whole of British industry consists of practices of this kind.
    • House of Commons statement, May 1973, on the Lonrho affair.
  • Our problem at the moment is a problem of success.
    • Six weeks before the three-day week, November 1973.
  • As Prime Minister, I want to speak to you, simply and plainly, about the grave emergency now facing our country. In the House of Commons this afternoon I announced more severe restriction on the use of electricity. You may already have heard the details of these. We are asking you to to cut down to the absolute minimum the use of electricity for heating, and for other purposes in your homes. We are limiting the use of electricity by almost all factories, shops, and offices, to three days a week.
    • Broadcast to the nation, 13 December 1973.
  • We shall have a harder Christmas than we have known since the war.
    • ibid. Reported in Time magazine, 24 December 1973.
  • I was interested in being present for its first, and I trust only, performance.
    • After hearing a new choral work at Gloucester Cathedral, 1975.
  • In excluding me from the shadow cabinet, Margaret Thatcher has chosen what I believe to be the only wholly honest solution and one which I accept and welcome.
    • February 1975.
  • The historic role of the Conservative Party is to use the leverage of its political and diplomatic skills to create a fresh balance between the different elements within the state at those times when, for one reason or another, their imbalance threatens to disrupt the orderly development of society.
    • Newspaper article, February 1975.
  • They have made a grave mistake choosing that woman.
    • On Margaret Thatcher's election to the leadership of the Tory Party, 1975.
  • You mustn't expect prime ministers to enjoy themselves. If they do, they mustn't show it – the population would be horrified.
    • Interview, November, 1976.
  • Please don't applaud. It may irritate your neighbour.
    • Receiving a mixed reaction to his speech at the Conservative Party conference, Blackpool, October 1981.
  • We have had eight years of consistent and persistent attacks on those four years in government - and on me, personally, but that does not matter - by people who were collectively responsible for those four years.
    • Interviewed in 1982 about Margaret Thatcher's attitude towards him and his government.
  • He is not mad in the least. He's a very astute person, a clever person.
    • On Saddam Hussein, undated.
  • It is bad because it is a negation of democracy ... Worst of all is the imposition by parliamentary diktat of a change of responsible party in London government. There cannot be any justification for that. It immediately lays the Conservative Party open to the charge of the greatest gerrymandering in the last 150 years of British history.
  • It was the most enthralling episode in my life"
    • Interviewed in 1984 about taking Britain into Europe.
  • I don't think that modesty is the outstanding characteristic of contemporary politics, do you?"
    • Comment in the Commons, December, 1988.
  • I think Churchill would be appalled at the Thatcher government.
    • 1989.
  • Whatever the lady does is wrong. I do not know of a single right decision taken by her.
    • 1989.
  • There's a lot of people I've encouraged and helped to get into the House of Commons. Looking at them now, I'm not so sure it was a wise thing to do.
    • 1989.
  • Rejoice! Rejoice!
    • On hearing the news of Margaret Thatcher's resignation, November, 1990.
      • When asked later if it was true that he had issued such a joyful declaration on his rival's political demise, he said no. He hadn't said rejoice twice, he had said it three times.
  • Do you know what Margaret Thatcher did in her first Budget? Introduced VAT on yachts! It somewhat ruined my retirement.
    • 1992.
  • A tragedy for the party. He's got no ideas, no experience and no hope.
    • On William Hague's election to the leadership of the Conservative Party, 1997.
  • Peter Sissons: The single currency, a United States of Europe, was all that in your mind when you took Britain in?
    Edward Heath: Of course, yes.
    • On BBC's Question Time on 1 November, 1990.


  • You'll lose.
    • His full response supposedly made to Margaret Thatcher when she informed him she would be standing against him for the Conservative leadership in 1975. Attributed to him in his Daily Telegraph obituary (18 July 2005), although disputed by Heath's autobiography.


  • The incredible sulk.
    • Anonymous nickname referring to his complaints about Margaret Thatcher.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

The Rt Hon Edward Heath

In office
19 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
Preceded by Harold Wilson
Succeeded by Harold Wilson

Born 9 July 1916
Broadstairs, Kent, England
Died 17 July 2005
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Political party Conservative

Edward Heath was a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Heath was a Conservative.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address