Heath, Edward

Edward Richard George Heath

b. 9 Jul 1916, St. Peter's in Thanet, Kent
d. 17 Jul 2005, Salisbury, Wiltshire [1]

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury [2]
Term: 19 Jun 1970 - 4 Mar 1974
Chronology: 19 Jun 1970, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [3][4]
22 Jun 1970, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the Queen in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [5]
4 Mar 1974, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (accepted), audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [6]
Names/titles: Sir Edward Richard George Heath (from 23 Apr 1992, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter) [7]

Born in the family of a carpenter, who established a small building firm in Broadstairs, Kent; was educated at Chatham House College, Ramsgate, and King's School, Canterbury; studied at Balliol College, Oxford (1935-1939), graduating a second in philosophy, politics, and economics; while at university, he became active in politics and was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (1937); served as Chairman of the Federation of University Conservative Associations (1937-1938) and President of the Oxford Union Society (1938-1939); was commissioned second lieutenant (1941) in the Royal Regiment of Artillery; promoted to lieutenant (temporary, 1942), captain (temporary, 1945), major (temporary, 1945), lieutenant-colonel (1947); served with anti-aircraft battery around Liverpool and in Europe; was employed as a civil servant in the Ministry of Civil Aviation; returned to Parliament as Conservative MP for Bexley (1950-1974), representing later Sidcup (1974-1983), and Old Bexley and Sidcup (1983-2001); appointed Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (7 Nov 1951 - 22 Oct 1959); governmental appointments under Winston Spencer-Churchill and Anthony Eden included Joint Deputy Government Chief Whip (1952-1953), Deputy Government Chief Whip (1953-1955), and Government Chief Whip (1955-1959); simultaneously took the office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (20 Dec 1955 - 14 Oct 1959); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (22 Dec 1955); joined the Cabinet of Harold Macmillan as Minister of Labor (14 Oct 1959 - 27 Jul 1960); was appointed Lord Privy Seal (28 Jul 1960 - 21 Oct 1963) and spent much of the time between 1960 and 1963 trying to negotiate terms for UK to join the European Economic Community (EEC); served as Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade (21 Oct 1963 - 19 Oct 1964) in the government of Sir Alec Douglas-Home; became the first Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (2 Aug 1965 - 4 Feb 1975) elected on secret ballot; retained his post despite the Conservative defeat in the 1966 General Election (31 Mar 1966: Labour 363, Conservatives and associates 253, Liberal 12, others 2); formed the government as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (19 Jun 1970 - 4 Mar 1974) after the Conservative Party won the General Election (18 Jun 1970: Conservative 330, Labour 287, Liberal 6, others 7); continuously pressed for British membership in the EEC and signed the Treaty of Accession, formally establishing Britain's membership of this organization (22 Jan 1972); succeeded in passing the necessary legislation for Britain to join the EEC; worked for increasing law and order to the nation, restricting immigration, promoting free trade and restricting the power of trade unions; faced economic deterioration, culminating in the 'three day week' during the winter of 1973-1974; failure at negotiations with striking miners and violence in Northern Ireland ('Bloody Sunday', 30 Jan 1972) led to calling a General Election, where the result was almost a dead heat between the two major parties (28 Feb 1974: Labour 301, Conservative 296, Liberal 14, Ulster Unionist 7, Scottish National Party 7, others 10); resigned (4 Mar 1974) after the Liberals refused to enter the coalition with the Conservatives; was defeated by the Labour under Harold Wilson in a further General Election in October 1974 and by Margaret Thatcher for the party leadership in 1975; served on the Independent Commission on International Development Issues (Brandt Commission, 1977-1980); was offered the post of Ambassador to the United States, but declined (1979); continued to serve as a backbench MP until retiring from Parliament in 2001. Biography source: [8][9]

[1] The Times, No. 68,442, Monday July 18 2005, pp. 42-44.
[2] In accordance with The Minister for the Civil Service Order 1968 (SI 1968/1656), the Prime Minister is also Minister for the Civil Service (effective 1 Nov 1968).
[3] The Times, No. 57,897, Saturday June 20 1970, p. 12: "Court Circular WINDSOR CASTLE, June 19 <...> The Right Hon. Harold Wilson had an audience of Her Majesty this evening at Buckingham Palace and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which The Queen was graciously pleased to accept. Her Majesty subsequently received in audience the Right Hon. Edward Heath and requested him to form a new Administration. The Right Hon. Edward Heath accepted The Queen's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."
[4] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 22 Jun 1970, announced by the Crown Office 22 Jun 1970, and gazetted 25 Jun 1970 (The London Gazette, No. 45136, Thursday, 25th June 1970, p. 7039).
[5] The Times, No. 57,899, Tuesday June 23 1970, p. 12: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 22 <...> The Queen held a Council at 6.30 o'clock this evening. <...> The Right Hon. Edward Heath was sworn First Lord of the Treasury."
[6] The Times, No. 59,030, Tuesday March 5 1974, p. 16: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE March 4: The Right Hon Edward Heath had an audience of The Queen this evening and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept."
[7] The London Gazette, No. 52903, Friday, 24th April 1992, p. 7175.
[8] "Edward Heath: A Personal and Political Biography", by George Hutchinson (London: Longmans, 1970).
[9] "Edward Heath: A Biography", by John Campbell (London: Jonathan Cape, 1993).
Image: photograph, 1965.
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:21:22