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Heath faces former aide

The former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, will face the acute embarrassment of encountering one of his former economic advisers as an opponent at the general election.

Professor Brian Reading, according to reports, is standing as the Referendum Party's candidate against Sir Edward in his seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup. Founded and funded by the billionaire, Sir James Goldsmith, the party has only one aim, to hold a referendum on Europe.

During his years at Downing Street, when he took Britain into Europe, Sir Edward was advised by Professor Reading. Now he is challenging for the seat where Sir Edward holds an almost impregnable 15,699 majority.