SIR JOHN Major’s arrival in Salisbury this week underlined the determination of the trustees of Arundells to preserve the property in the memory of its last resident Sir Edward Heath.

Lord David Hunt introduced Sir John to a packed audience at Salisbury Guildhall for the inaugural Edward Heath Lecture.

A former minister under Sir Edward, Lord Hunt revealed he owed the statesman a great debt after he was sacked by his constituency party for speaking up on an immigration issue.

Having won a vote on allowing Ugandan Asians to keep their full passport against Enoch Powell, he had returned to his Plymouth base to face criticisms for his stand.

It has been a matter of principal following Idi Amin’s expulsion of the Ugandan Asians, all British Citizens, from the East African country.

“My view was that when you give someone a passport you don’t take it away.”

Fortunately for Lord Hunt, the then Prime Minister took the same view and encouraged him to pursue politics and he did – successfully winning the Wirral seat in his native Merseyside a few years later.

“He told me I should not in any way feel disillusioned. I should feel inspired and I will never forget what I owed Ted Heath, which I am perhaps going someway to repay now.”

Sir John Major said that Arundells was: “The first home that Ted Heath could truly call his own.

“Ted spent his last two decades living there and it was evident to everyone who knew him how profoundly he loved the house, with its subtle architectural balance, tranquil gardens and stunning view of our greatest Gothic cathedral. “It appealed to the inner artist in Ted – and it never lost that appeal.

“Next year, Ted would have been a hundred years old. I think he would have been delighted that funds are to be raised – not just for the historic delights of Arundells – but for discussion of international affairs, education and the arts.

“Ted knew that a rounded life extended far beyond domestic politics, and his own life reflected that understanding: it is a privilege to deliver this inaugural Lecture and Ted would, I think, have approved of the subject.”