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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 July, 2005, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
In Pictures: Sir Edward Heath
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Born in 1916, Edward Heath was a grammar school boy who made it to Oxford. By 1950 he had entered Parliament as a Tory MP. He gave his maiden speech on Europe, an issue that was to dominate his political life.
Heath in a BBC studio in 1964
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Edward Heath rose quickly, becoming the party's chief whip before taking on the Tory top job just 15 years after becoming an MP.
Edward Heath and crew onboard The Morning Cloud
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Despite being a world away from the upper class Tory leaders before him, Heath failed to beat Labour's Harold Wilson in 1966. A sporting image makeover was prescribed by his advisers.
Heath waves to the media outside Number Ten in 1971
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In 1970 Heath upset the pundits and entered Downing Street, turning the tables on Wilson.
Anti-Edward Heath demonstration as people wait for the February 1974 General Election result
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Heath's time in office was beset with strikes, power cuts and the three-day week. For many he was not a popular prime minister. His main achievement was taking Britain into Europe.
Edward Heath during an election campaign visit to Manchester in February 1974
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Heath lost two elections in 1974. His failure was not forgiven by his colleagues and he was soon defeated in a leadership election by Margaret Thatcher.
Baroness Thatcher and Sir Edward Heath at the Conservative Party Conference in 1998
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While Mrs Thatcher was in power Heath was a fierce critic of her policies. He never really accepted her leadership. By the 1990s he had become the country's longest serving MP.
Edward Heath in 1965
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Edward Heath: 50 years an MP, four years a prime minister.


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