Goldsmith v Heath in battle of the old devils

A political battle of titanic proportions broke out yesterday as the billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith squared up to Sir Edward Heath over Europe.

The former Prime Minister and the business mogul, who have more than 80 years' involvement in politics between them, accused each other of lying about what Sir Edward did or did not know in 1960 about the future of the community.

Neither, however, seemed likely to press their allegations in a court of law. "I'm not likely to take legal action against a multi-billionaire who is trying to buy the country's vote with pounds 20m," Sir Edward said of his former Conservative Party colleague.

The row started when Sir James launched News, his Referendum Party's new national newspaper, with a story about how the Heath government had "lied through their teeth" to the British public on the consequences of joining the Common Market. A letter sent to Sir Edward in 1960 by the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, talked of "serious surrenders of sovereignty" and added that his objections "ought to be brought out into the open", according to the paper.

But, it added, Sir Edward told the voters that "there is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty".

Sir Edward was having none of it. He had been taken out of context, he complained, and Sir James was "cheating".

When he had said there would be no erosion of national sovereignty, he had added: "What is proposed is a sharing and an enlarging of individual national sovereignties in the general interest," he said.

A copy of the letter revealed that that, too, had been selectively quoted. While it did mention sovereignty and said that the there would be objections on those grounds to joining the Common Market, it added a rider which was not mentioned by Sir James' newspaper.

Although such considerations should be given due weight because of their political implications, "I do not for one moment wish to convey the impression that they must necessarily tip the scale," he said.

Sir James was merely seeking publicity, Sir Edward suggested, and a high- profile libel case would simply create it. But although he brushed aside suggestions that he might go to court, he said he would continue to make his position clear. He said that what the EC nations were doing was not surrendering sovereignty, but pooling it. Britain had gained influence over other countries as well as winning trade as a result, he argued.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world