Enoch Powell

John Enoch Powell (16 June 1912 – 8 February 1998) was a British politician, classical scholar, author, linguist, soldier, philologist, and poet. He served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (1950–1974), then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP (1974–1987), and was Minister of Health (1960–1963).

Before entering politics, Powell was a classical scholar. During World War II, he served in both staff and intelligence positions, reaching the rank of brigadier. He also wrote poetry, and many books on classical and political subjects.

Powell attracted widespread attention for his "Rivers of Blood" speech, delivered in April 1968 to the General Meeting of the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre. In it, Powell criticized the rates of immigration into the UK, especially from the New Commonwealth, and opposed the anti-discrimination legislation Race Relations Bill. The speech was considered by some to be a blatant demonstration of racism, drawing sharp criticism from Powell's own party members and the press. Conservative Party leader Edward Heath consequently sacked Powell from his position as Shadow Defence Secretary.

In the aftermath of the speech, several polls suggested that 67 to 82 per cent of the UK population agreed with Powell's opinions. His supporters claimed that the large public following which Powell attracted helped the Conservatives to win the 1970 general election, and perhaps cost them the February 1974 general election, when Powell turned his back on the Conservatives by endorsing a vote for Labour, which returned as a minority government. Powell was returned to the House of Commons in October 1974 as the Ulster Unionist Party MP for the Northern Ireland constituency of South Down. He represented the constituency until he was defeated at the 1987 general election. Provided by Wikipedia
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