On 16 March 1976 Harold Wilson caused a political sensation when he announced he was to resign, just over two years into his fourth stint as Prime Minister, and five days after his 60th birthday. He had been Labour leader for 13 years and Prime Minister for nearly eightÂ years.
As Prime Minister leading two Labour administrations between 1964 and 1970, Wilson was keen to bring about a modernisation of Britain’s economy and society.Â Under his leadership, the LabourÂ governmentsÂ introduced liberal social policies, including the abolition of capital punishment and theÂ decriminalisation of homosexual acts in private between two men, and changed abortion law. Wilson returned as Prime Minister following the February 1974 election, forming a minority government, and then called another election in October 1974Â at which he secured a majority of three. He achieved further social reforms during 1974-76 butÂ had to wrestleÂ with the problem of soaring inflation. It has been said by some that Wilson’s greatest achievement as Prime MinisterÂ was keeping British troops out of Vietnam. Continue reading »