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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015