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Sir Edward Heath

Strathclyde University Archives

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Sir Edward Heath

Former Prime Minister Edward Heath arriving at the University of Strathclyde to present the 1980 Hoover Address. At his side is Professor James Kennerley.

Heath leader of the Conserative Party from 1965-1975 and Prime Minster from 1970-1974. He is best remembered in Glasgow for his role in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders crisis of 1971-1972. His Government had come to power with a policy of no subsidies for unprofitable industries (so-called "lame ducks"), and refused to bail out the financially-troubled UCS. With an estimated 15,000 jobs at risk, 8,500 in the yards and 6,500 among suppliers, shipyard workers decided to stage a work-in, demanding the "right to work". They attracted widespread public support, with 80,000 attending one Glasgow demonstration.

After 14 months, Heath relented and came up with Government funding to continue shipbuilding on the upper Clyde, which he now claimed to be in the national interest. Heath was said to have performed a "U-turn" on the issue, a phrase which subsequently became common political currency.

Reference: P5/47

Reproduced with the permission of Strathclyde University Archives

bodyguards, Conservative Party, demonstrations, European Economic Community, government subsidies, Hoover Address, Members of Parliament, MPs, prime ministers, professors, right to work, River Clyde, shipbuilding, shipyard workers, shipyards, trade unions, trades unions, U-turns, UCS, University of Strathclyde, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, work-ins

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