Former British prime minister Sir Edward Heath died this morning, aged 89. Here’s what the British papers are saying:

Heath changed the direction of British history, yet he remains one of
the most controversial Conservative leaders. His record as prime
minister from June 1970 to March 1974 was largely disowned by Margaret
Thatcher, his successor as leader, and he has found few champions among
later generations of Tories. – The Times

Edward’s place in history remains uncertain because of the
controversial character of his four-year premiership from 1970 to 1974.
He entered No 10 after voters ejected Harold Wilson’s Labour
government, not least over its failure to achieve trade union reform.
Alongside Sir Edward’s groundbreaking Industrial Relations Act, which
the unions resisted passionately, and his commitment to free market
economics lay a determination to take Britain into the then-European
Economic Community. – The Guardian

pursued his European vision against every discouragement. But in the
face of almost continuous crisis he was unable to maintain policy at
home. Elected on laissez-faire economics, his government found itself
pouring out public money in all directions. – Daily Telegraph

many prime ministers genuinely change the course of history, Sir Edward
did so by taking Britain into the Common Market on 1 January, 1973. But
while he was alive, he was remembered for his spectacular failure, ­
the ill-fated “who governs Britain?” election he called in February
1974 to try to mobilise public support against militant trade unionism.
He lost, and his political fortunes never recovered. – The Independent

Peter Fray

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