Edward Heath

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The Right Honourable
Sir Edward Heath
KG MBE
Ted Heath in his Salisbury home, 1987
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
19 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Harold Wilson
Succeeded by Harold Wilson
Leader of the Opposition
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 Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Succeeded by Harold Wilson
Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and President of the Board of Trade
In office
20 October 1963 – 16 October 1964
Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded by Fred Erroll
Succeeded by Douglas Jay
Minister of Labour
In office
14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Iain MacLeod
Succeeded by John Hare
Lord Privy Seal
In office
14 February 1960 – 18 October 1963
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Quintin Hogg
Succeeded by Selwyn Lloyd
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
7 April 1955 – 14 June 1959
Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Patrick Buchan-Hepburn
Succeeded by Martin Redmayne
Father of the House
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 February 1974
Preceded by Ashley Bramall
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Member of Parliament
for Sidcup
In office
28 February 1974 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Constituency reated
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for Old Bexley and Sidcup
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Derek Conway
Personal details
Born Edward Richard George Heath
9 July 1916(1916-07-09)
Broadstairs, Kent
United Kingdom
Died 17 July 2005(2005-07-17) (aged 89)
Salisbury, Wiltshire
United Kingdom
Resting place Salisbury Cathedral
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Profession Journalist
civil servant
classical organist
sailor
Religion Anglican
Military service
Service/branch British Army
Royal Artillery
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Order of the British Empire (Military).jpg Member of the Order of the British Empire
1939-45 Star.jpg 1939–45 Star
War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png War Medal 1939–1945
France and Germany Star BAR.svg France and Germany Star

Sir Edward Richard George Heath, KG, MBE, PC (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005) also commonly known as Ted Heath was a British Conservative politician.[1] He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 until 1974.[1] Heath was also the leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 until 1975.

Heath was educated at Balliol College, Oxford.[1] He died of pneumonia.

In 1937, as a student when he was travelling in Nuremberg, Heath met 3 of Adolf Hitler's top Nazi leaders Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler and he described Himmler as the most evil man he had ever met. Heath also travelled to Barcelona in Spain in 1938 at the time of the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, Heath went again to Germany when it was summer in the Northern Hemisphere and returned to Britain before the outbreak of World War II.

Heath was a lifelong bachelor which means that he never married and never even had a partner and his sexual orientation is a matter of dispute.[2][3] He was also a classical organist and conductor and a sailor. In August 2015, it was revealed that five police forces are investigating Sir Ted Heath over allegations of child sexual abuse.[4]

Sexuality[change | change source]

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 admitted that he had kept her photograph in his flat for many years afterwards.[5]

His interest in music kept him on friendly terms with a number of female musicians including Moura Lympany. Lympany had thought Heath would marry her, but when asked about the most intimate thing he had done, replied, "He put his arm around my shoulder."[6] Bernard Levin wrote at the time in The Observer, forgetting two other prime minsters who were bachelors with no known romantic interests, that the UK had to wait until the emergence of the permissive society for a prime minister who was a virgin.[7] In later life, according to his official biographer Philip Ziegler, Heath was "apt to relapse into morose silence or completely ignore the woman next to him and talk across her to the nearest man".[7]

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 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 for gay sex 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.[8] Heath's biographer Philip Ziegler wrote in 2010 that Coleman was able to provide "little or no evidence" 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.[9]

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.[10]

Allegations of child sexual abuse[change | change source]

It has been reported that, as of August 2015, five police forces were investigating multiple claims of child sexual abuse by Heath.[11] The BBC reported that Heath was under investigation by the Hampshire, Jersey, Kent, and Wiltshire police, and London's Metropolitan Police.[12]

Reports on 3 August stated that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was to examine an allegation by a former senior police officer that a criminal prosecution of another person was not pursued by Wiltshire Police after that person reportedly "threatened to expose" that Heath may have been involved in offences concerning the abuse of children; and whether the force properly investigated the claims of abuse, which had been made in the 1990s. The 1990s threat to implicate Heath was made by a woman due to stand trial charged with running a brothel;[13] the trial did not take place.[14] It was reported in the Daily Mirror on 4 August 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.[13]

It was stated by The Guardian that claims against Heath were being investigated as part of Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police enquiry into historic claims of child abuse and related homicides.[15] Sky News reported that the States of Jersey Police were investigating allegations against Heath as part of Operation Whistle.[16] The Exaro website has alleged that Heath was one of the prominent people involved in child sexual abuse at the Dolphin Square apartment complex in Pimlico, London.[17]

Journalist Freddy Gray, offering his opinion in The Spectator, questioned the media's attitude to allegations of child molestation against Heath, saying: "It is increasingly common to link gay men who repress their sexual appetites with people who rape children. ... Ted Heath's 'confirmed bachelor' status was not in and of itself creepy; what is creepy is the suggestion that a man who doesn't embrace and announce his homosexuality is a paedo-in-the-making."[18]

Writing in The Independent, Heath's biographer John Campbell said: "If he had any inclinations that way he would have repressed them; he was too self-controlled and self-contained to do anything that would have risked his career."[19][20][21]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "BBC History - Historic Figures:Edward Heath (1916 - 2005)". http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/heath_edward.shtml. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  2. [1]
  3. "Heath warned about gay sex trysts". The Daily Telegraph. 25 April 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1549607/Heath-warned-about-gay-sex-trysts.html.
  4. Gearin, Mary (6 August 2015). "Sir Edward Heath: Five UK police forces investigating child sex abuse claims involving former PM". ABC News (Australia). http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/sir-edward-heath-child-sex-allegations/6673442. Retrieved 6 Augsut 2015.
  5. 'Edward Heath – A Very Singular Man' Blakeway Productions for BBC2, 1998
  6. The Guardian, 19 March 2001
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wheatcroft, Geoffrey (4 July 2010). "Edward Heath: The Authorised Biography by Philip Ziegler". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/04/edward-heath-philip-ziegler-review.
  8. "Ted Heath 'stopped cottaging for gay sex to protect his career', says Tory MP". London Evening Standard. 24 April 2007. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/ted-heath-stopped-cottaging-for-gay-sex-to-protect-his-career-says-tory-mp-7186167.html. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  9. Ziegler 2010, pp81-2
  10. "Biography claims Margaret Thatcher thought Edward Heath was gay". Pink News (London). 25 April 2013. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/04/25/biography-claims-margaret-thatcher-thought-edward-heath-was-gay/.
  11. "Calls Made To Ted Heath Child Sex Abuse Line". Sky News. 4 August 2015. http://news.sky.com/story/1530217/calls-made-to-ted-heath-child-sex-abuse-line.
  12. "Edward Heath abuse claims: Five forces investigating ex-PM". BBC News. 4 August 2015. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33770021.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Anderson, Steve (4 August 2015). "Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/edward-heath-raped-12-yearold-boy-at-mayfair-flat-10436554.html. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  14. "Ted Heath: IPCC to investigate alleged coverup of child abuse claims". The Guardian (London). 3 August 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/03/ted-heath-child-abuse-investigation-police-watchdog-ipcc.
  15. "Edward Heath: Met has been investigating claims for several months". The Guardian. 4 August 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/04/edward-heath-met-have-been-investigating-claims-for-several-months.
  16. "Calls Made To Ted Heath Child Sex Abuse Line". Sky News. 4 August 2015. http://news.sky.com/story/1530217/calls-made-to-ted-heath-child-sex-abuse-line.
  17. Conrad, Mark; Watts, Mark (4 August 2015). "Sir Edward Heath: Met also investigates claims of child sex abuse". Exaro. http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5629/sir-edward-heath-met-also-investigates-claims-of-child-sex-abuse. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  18. Gray, Freddy (4 August 2015). "No, Ted Heath’s 'deeply closeted' sexuality doesn't mean he was a paedophile". The Spectator. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/freddy-gray/2015/08/no-ted-heaths-deeply-closeted-sexuality-doesnt-mean-pedophile/. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  19. [2]
  20. Gearin, Mary (6 August 2015). "Sir Edward Heath: Five UK police forces investigating child sex abuse claims involving former PM". ABC News (Australia). http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/sir-edward-heath-child-sex-allegations/6673442. Retrieved 6 Augsut 2015.
  21. [3]