When Michael Heseltine became Secretary of State for Defence in 1983, he immediately revealed his Churchillian credentials. Learning that the magnificent George IV bookcase, octagonal table, and Queen Anne grandfather clock which had once furnished Churchill’s Admiralty were still in storage, he sent for all three pieces and installed them in his office. We pictured him with these trophies on the back cover of Finest Hour 43, Spring 1984.
A graduate of Oxford and an officer in the Welsh Guards, Michael Heseltine helped create Haymarket Publishing Group, one of the largest British magazine companies, in the 1960s. He rejoined the board on leaving government in 1997 and became chairman in 1999.
Mr. Heseltine contested the Gower constituency and Coventry North before being elected for Tavistock, Devon, in 1966. Following the redistribution of Tavistock, he represented Henley from 1974 to 2001. Serving a variety of offices in the shadow cabinets of 1970-79, he became Secretary of State for the Environment (1979-83). As Minister of Defence (1983-86) he played a central role in defeating the unilateral nuclear disarmament campaign of the mid-1980s.
He resigned from the Cabinet in 1986 and four years later challenged Mrs. Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party. She resigned and Mr. Heseltine joined John Major’s Cabinet, again as Minister of Environment. His positions since include President of the Board of Trade, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and Deputy Prime Minister, a post he held until April 1997. After the 1997 election he became chairman of Conservative Mainstream, whose objective it is to stimulate interest in the “centre ground of politics,” not very different from Winston Churchill’s approach in his own day. His books are Where There’s a Will (1987), The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain Win?(1989) and his political autobiography, Life in the Jungle (2000).
The Churchill Centre is proud to welcome Lord Heseltine along with Lady Soames and Sir Martin Gilbert to Bermuda in November.
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