Letter: Coal industry shutdown 'will have a demoralising effect on the whole nation'

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is not one word of truth in Geoffrey Goodman's statement in his article today ('A proud history, on the slag heap') that

One of the still-secret stories of that retreat (in 1974) was a Cabinet vote to go to the country rather than fight the miners. Two ministers demanded a battle to the end, rather than an election. They were Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. Heath overruled them; they neither forgot nor forgave.

The general election was never discussed in Cabinet. There was no Cabinet vote on it. On the two separate occasions when I discussed it with colleagues, neither Sir Keith Joseph nor Margaret Thatcher ever voiced the least objection to going to the country and placing the matter before the electorate. No vote was taken. I overruled no one.

As Geoffrey Goodman himself states that this matter is still secret, he is both foolish and irresponsible, particularly in this situation, to produce such a travesty of the truth.

Yours sincerely,

EDWARD HEATH

Salisbury

15 October

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