EDWARD Heath “misled” members of the Conservative Party prior to the presentation of his European deal to MPs in the House of Commons, a politician who was there at the time has claimed.
British and European diplomats have agreed on Theresa May’s Brexit deal in principle this morning, despite threats from Spain to veto the withdrawal agreement. Finalising Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could bring an end to almost 50 years of close cooperation with Brussels. However, MPs who debated joining the EEC in 1971 were given false information by then Prime Minister Edward Heath, according to a Tory MP who was at the heart of it as events unfolded.
Edward Heath had a meagre majority in October 1971 and, like Theresa May today, faced a divided Conservative Party when he presented his deal on joining what was then the EEC.
The six-day debate about the terms of entry was one of the most significant moments in modern British history.
Dubbed the Great Debate at the time, the House was spilt between Labour and Tory Europhiles who saw the trade incentives of joining, Tory sceptics who resented the loss of sovereignty and Labour hard-liners who saw the EEC as a “capitalist club”.