Edward Heath’s historical record on Europe has been distorted

Premier Edward Heath at the wheel of his yacht Morning Cloud. Picture: Tim King.
Premier Edward Heath at the wheel of his yacht Morning Cloud. Picture: Tim King.

From: Lawrence Iles

Royal Parade

I am sorry we have, in the pro-remain camp for the EU, lost the continuance of British membership support of Mr R Hopkins ({https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/your-say/i-was-an-idealistic-young-europhile-and-i-believed-ted-heath-when-he-said-no-question-of-loss-of-british-sovereignty-1-8812119 |I was idealistic young Europhile February 15 letters pages).}

But since one of the contentions he makes is widely touted by the Europhobes, claims that the late Edward Heath could never acknowledge that the original, let alone the present, constantly enlarging EU was about a full economic and monetary union I beg leavers to cite au contraire. This is an old lie!

In 1975 as a student of politics and history at Newcastle upon Tyne university and chair of SUE (Students for a United Europe branch) I argued a packed out “pro” remain meeting in the 1,000-strong Newcastle civic centre for the lead speakers, Heath himself and late Labour peer Lord Victor Feather of the TUC.

Every seat was covered by literature I had placed and the city, then as at the last recent referendum, reflects its largely young and informed urban electorate by newspapers predictions voting for remain and the insistence of the plebiscite.

Both Heath and Feather startled me by their explicit passion for a political and economical union.

Both men made clear it was born out of their conviction that ‘European disunity’ had caused two world wars and ‘loss of many of our generational friends’.

How dare people like R Hopkins distort the historical record of Ted Heath, and I write as one who has a record as a proven anti-Tory activist with no cupidity for them as the rich usually.

I have recently met both Stephen Lloyd MP, and Brighton’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP who can both attest to the realities of Heath, even though they differ on Brexit!

History is difficult and not as facile however as the Hopkins of the world pretend it to be.