When life was a riot for the young Hezza
Sunday 26 January 1997
Extracts in the Daily Mail from the biography by Michael Crick, a television investigative journalist, also paint the Deputy Prime Minister as a sharp young man on the make who got up at 6am to mix margarine with his tenants' butter. The picture Mr Crick paints looks certain to reignite - at a critical point just before a general election - the controversy over how Mr Heseltine made his money and his tempestuous private life.
Mr Crick claims that Mr Heseltinehad difficulty controlling the "riotous" atmosphere in a multi-occupied house he bought in seedy Bayswater with a business partner in 1955. Two of the women tenants were "apparently working as prostitutes, although Heseltine didn't spot this," he writes.
Sir Julian Critchley, Tory MP for Aldershot and Heseltine's first biographer, shared Heseltine's stormy life at this period and knows what went on. "I stayed there," he said yesterday. "He had a room at the top, in an attic. This was in the days before the area was cleaned up by Rab Butler. You couldn't walk down Bayswater Rd without being accosted, and the girls had to live somewhere. He accepted boarders, provided they paid their rent. I expect he had no idea what they got up to during the day." Really?
Hezza sold the boarding house and bought a small hotel, the New Court, not far away. This was, if anything, even more exotic, being a haunt of American servicemen and their girlfriends. The man who wanted to be prime minister was their hotel manager. He also served behind the bar, and prepared breakfasts.
"At times the building appears to have descended into drunken chaos," writes Crick. "One evening saw condoms hung from the candelabra. On another occasion, when Heseltine organised a party for his sister Bubbles, an American sergeant put his shoes and sock in the punch bowl."
Heseltine enjoyed the fun. The book claims he had one woman in bed within three quarters of an hour of meeting her - and never spoke to her again. Sir Julian admits candidly: "Put it this way - Michael was not a homosexual. He was a particularly good-looking man and he had a catalogue of affairs as any young man would. So what? But he was not louche, I can assure you."
Tight, maybe. Crick recounts the story told by Independent on Sunday columnist Alan Watkins that a "socialist woman" accused him of exploiting people. Heseltine retorted that he had been up since six that morning. Doing what? "I was mixing the butter with the marge." He may well have been mischief-making "but he wouldn't have been the first to do that," concedes Sir Julian.
More seriously, the book charges Heseltine the budding businessman with deliberately sending off incorrectly filled-out cheques to gain an extra few days on his creditors. This story has appeared before. In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister got into hot water by telling it himself last summer to a conference of small businessmen.
It is when the book moves from boardroom to present-day bedroom that it may raise more eyebrows. The extract published so far does not deal with Heseltine's tempestuous courtship of his wife Anne... When the narrative gets to his courtship of his wife Anne, Sir Julian fears "it could become trickier".
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland votes Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...