Letter: Edward Heath: a 'blatant misrepresentation' of me

Share
Related Topics
THE ARTICLES about me in your paper last weekend ("Revealed: Ted Heath's cash links with China", 10 January) were misleading and inaccurate. All the remunerated advisory roles which you claim to have "revealed" were registered in the House of Commons Members' Interests when I first accepted them on behalf of the Dumpton Gap Company in the early 1990s, with the exception of the relationship with Commercial General Union's China Index Fund, which only took effect in 1997.

When the Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members was revised in 1996, I examined the definition of the purpose of the registration of interests, which stated that the register exists to "provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament".

When it came to considering my entry in the 1996 Register of Members' Interests, I took the view that the various advisory roles that I had undertaken on behalf of the Dumpton Gap Company were not provided by me as an MP, and were unrelated to membership. I concluded that it was not necessary to list them all individually. I explained my view to Sir Gordon Downey, the then Commissioner for Standards and, in late March 1996, he sent me a letter, to which he attached a copy of the entry that subsequently appeared against my name in the 1996 Register, including the Dumpton Gap Company, and saying that it had been revised along the lines we agreed.

None of the advisory roles that I fulfil on behalf of Dumpton Gap in any way relates to my membership of the House of Commons and, since 1996, I have made no parliamentary intervention of any sort which has been, or could reasonably be supposed to have been, linked to any of them. On that basis, I believe that I have acted properly in registering my outside interests as I have. However, I am perfectly happy to make matters plain, and all remaining remunerated advisory roles will be set out in the next Register. I have now contacted the Registrar of Members' Interests accordingly.

In fact, all but two of the advisory roles you mentioned have come to an end. The Dumpton Gap Company, of which I am chairman, has of course filed annual statements with Companies House every year since 1994. It has to by law. It is not, however, a requirement for an unlimited company to file accounts. I resent the innuendo that I have funded what is described as a "champagne lifestyle" in some dishonest or underhand fashion. The simple fact is that I have saved all my life and, in the second half of the 1970s, after I ceased to be Prime Minister, I wrote three best-selling books on sailing, on music and on travels. For the past 20 or so years, I have lectured worldwide.

Most misleading of all, however, was the paragraph on page 4 in which it was alleged that I had been branded an "apologist for murder". It is untrue to say that I have ever defended the killings in Tiananmen Square. You quote me as saying in one interview that "There was a crisis in Tiananmen Square after a month in which the civil authorities had been defied and they took action about it very well". As the Press Association accurately reported at the time and as I have also explained subsequently, the sentence ended after "they took action about it". The next sentence began: "Very well, we can criticise it in exactly the same way as people criticise Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, but this isn't by any means the whole story..."

Finally, I am surprised that a newspaper of your standing should have allowed such a selective quotation from my memoirs. What I actually wrote was: "Of course, it was right to deplore and condemn the brutal suppression which occurred in June 1989, but, in general, we in the West must be rather more cautious about judging the political arrangements in other parts of the world by our own subjective standards". You only saw fit to publish the second (unitalicised) half of the sentence, which created a blatant misrepresentation of my actual position, and of the point I was making.

SIR EDWARD HEATH

House of Commons,

London SW1

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A new election forecast indicates Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats may hold the power in deciding who forms the next government  

General election latest: computer model predicts the Lib Dems might have even more of an influence than they do now

John Rentoul
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success  

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

DJ Taylor
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?