Time In Office Edit
In June 1970, the Conservatives won the General Election, unexpectedly, with a 30 seat majority.
The results were: Con: 330; Lab: 287; Lib: 6 and 7 others. On June 19 Edward Heath entered office, with Sir Alec Douglas-Home as Foreign Secretary. Margaret Thatcher is appointed as Secretary of State for Education and Science and On July 20 Iain Macleod is succeeded as Chancellor of Exchequer by Anthony Barber after he dies suddenly. In the same year the SDLP is formed, the conflict in Belfast continues and Heath creates the Centeral Policy Review Staff.
In 1971, the decimal coinage system replaces shillings and pence and House of Commons and House of Lords vote in favour of doing the EEC. Unionist protest against the Industrial Relations Bill, which means that only registered unions have legal protection and pre-stike ballots; there are fines on members who disobey, but it still goes ahead. The Immigration Act is passed and it means that foreign and Commonwealth nationals are treated equally, however those with parents of grandparents born in the UK have free entry.
1972 saw Miner's strikes cause disruption. Heath signs accession to EEC along with Denmark, Irish Republic and Norway. 13 demonstrators are killed by British Troops in Londonberry on January 30 (Bloody Saturday). and then an angry crowd burns the the British Embassy in Dublin. Because of fuel shortages, 1.5 million workers are laid off in February and then on the 28th miners finally return to work after Heath's government recognises a need for better wages and working conditions. On April 1. William Whitehall is appointed as Northern Ireland Secretary. In June the Chancellor replaces the Bank rate with the minimum lending rate and the IRA observes the ceasefire in Ulster. Heath's government faced a blow in July after the Home Secretary resigns after alleged corruption of contacts. Then on October 2. the Labour Party recognises the need to join the EEC. Heath and the Commons pass the European Committees Act and the Local Government act in the same month. In November the government imposes a 90 day freeze on prices, pay and rent.
It was January 1 1973 when Britain, along with Denmark and Ireland, joined the EEC.