Edward Heath celebrates victory for the 'Yes' campaign in the EEC referendum of 1975
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Euro moments 1975: 'I've worked for this for 25 years'

Asked if he was glad the referendum had taken place, the then former Prime Minister Edward Heath was emphatic: "I think that it was unnecessary."

He said that nonetheless he was "delighted" with the result of Britain's 1975 referendum on membership of the European Economic Community, in which the "Yes" campaign received over 67% of the vote.

It represented the end of a personal quest for Heath, who had led the negotiations on Britain's entry into the EEC in the early 1960s as Lord Privy Seal in Harold Macmillan's government.

Britain's application was blocked twice by the French President, Charles de Gaulle, once in 1963 and again in 1967 - much to the disappointment of Heath.

But Heath got the last laugh - when he took Britain in as PM 1973, and later when, with his Labour successor Harold Wilson in No 10, the referendum saw the British people voting in favour of staying in.

Clip taken from BBC News, first broadcast 6 June 1975

  • 13 May 2014
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