Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to February 1974 and as Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975.
Born in Kent, Heath studied at Oxford University and served in the Second World War. He was first elected to Parliament in 1950 for Bexley, and was the Chief Whip from 1955 to 1959. Entering the Cabinet as Minister of Labour in 1959, he was later promoted to Lord Privy Seal and later became President of the Board of Trade. In 1965, Heath won the leadership of the Conservative Party against Reginald Maudling and Enoch Powell. The 1966 election months later saw the Labour Government of Harold Wilson win a large victory, although Heath remained leader.
Heath became Prime Minister after winning the 1970 election. In 1971, Heath oversaw the decimalisation of British coinage and in 1972, he implemented major reform to the UK's system of local government. Possibly most significantly, Heath took the UK into the European Economic Community in 1973. Heath's Premiership also oversaw the height of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, with the suspension of the Stormont Parliament and the imposition of direct British rule. Unofficial talks with IRA delegates were unsuccessful, as was the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, which caused the Ulster Unionist Party to withdraw from the Conservative whip.