Reflecting on 90 years: Happy Birthday Lord Heseltine

Published on March 21, 2023

Over the last 90 years, Lord Heseltine has undoubtedly shaped the political landscape of modern Britain.  

Lord Heseltine first entered the Conservative Party when Winston Churchill was leader and went on to become a prominent figure in the governments of Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major, serving as Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State under Major. He served as a Conservative MP from 1966 to 2001, challenging Thatcher for leadership of the Conservatives in 1990. He also served as Secretary of State for Defence and Environment before being made a life peer in the House of Lords. 

A graduate of Oxford and an officer in the Welsh Guards, Michael helped create Haymarket Publishing Group, one of Britain’s largest magazine companies, in the 1960s. Heseltine has published three of his own books: Where There’s a Will (1987), The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain Win? (1989) and his political autobiography, Life in the Jungle (2000). 

In 2012 he was awarded the Freeman of the City of Liverpool for his support for the regeneration of the city in the early 1980s when it was facing economic collapse.  

Lord Heseltine has always been a vocal supporter of the EU. When working with then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher he often criticised her for her Eurosceptic views and confrontational approach to the European Parliament. 

When the Brexit debate began Lord Heseltine was a prominent voice in the campaign to Remain and after the UK decided to leave the EU, he stated that it was “the greatest constitutional crisis of modern times”. In 2019, Michael had the Conservative whip suspended in the Lords after he endorsed the Liberal Democrats at the 2019 European and General Election, making a strong case for a second referendum following the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. 

In 2019, after a lifetime dedicated to Europe, Lord Heseltine became President of the European Movement. Today he continues to fight for a closer relationship with Europe in everything he does. From denouncing the Retained EU Law Bill in the House of Lords, working closely with the European Movement, and speaking out in favour of one day rejoining the EU.  

To celebrate Lord Heseltine’s birthday, we sent our very own Pablo O’Hana to meet with him in his home in London. They spoke about everything from his early life, his current position on the Conservative Party, and his lifelong dedication to Europe.

We want to wish Lord Heseltine a Happy 90th Birthday and we thank him again for all his work with the European Movement and Europe as a whole over the last nine decades.  

Help us put Europe on the political agenda before the general election

Showing 1 reaction