Denis MacShane

Heath (Edward Heath, 1916-2005, KG 1992) Conservative politician and Prime Minister 1970-4. He was the first leader of the Conservative Party to be elected rather than to ‘emerge’. A passionate European, he succeeded during his premiership in effecting Britain’s entry to the EC. But the domestic economy was thrown into chaos in his last months in office by the oil crisis and by a miners’ strike, which provoked him into calling an election for February 1974. The party lost the election, and a year later Heath was challenged and defeated for the leadership by Margaret Thatcher. As a pro-European and a consensus politician, he was isolated during her years in power. But times changed and he had the satisfaction of becoming the Father of the House in 1992.

DENIS MACSHANE was Minister for Europe and Deputy Foreign Secretary. Before entering Parliament he worked for the international trade union movement and was president of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in 1978. He first stood for Parliament in 1974. After Oxford he worked for the BBC: He is the author of several books on European politics and the book Why Kosovo Still Matters (2015).

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