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Heath, Edward (Richard George) (1916–)

Subject History

Place Europe » United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


British Prime Minister (1970–4). Born in Kent, the son of a carpenter and a lady's maid, he was educated at a local grammar school and Oxford University. Elected as a Conservative MP in 1950, he was soon a junior whip and as Chief Whip (1955–9) helped to keep the conservative party together during the suez crisis. He was very close to Harold macmillan, who succeeded Anthony ED en as Prime Minister in 1957 and was promoted by him to be Minister of Labour (1959–60) and Lord Privy Seal (1960–3), in which capacity he handled the negotiations for British entry to the eec which de gaulle vetoed in 1963. President of the Board of Trade (1963–4) under Sir Alec douglas-home, he encouraged competition by making resale price maintenance (which compelled shops to sell goods at prices fixed by suppliers) illegal. When Douglas-Home resigned Ted Heath was the first Conservative leader to be elected under the new system of voting by Conservative MPs and at 49 was the youngest head of the Conservatives for over a century. A highly cultured and humane man, with a deep love and knowledge of music, he was a ‘one nation’ Tory, who took a liberal view of race relations and removed Enoch Powell from the shadow cabinet in 1968 for making a racist speech. The Conservatives unexpectedly won the 1970 election, so Heath became Prime Minister, committed to reducing public expenditure and state intervention ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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