Heath and Callaghan to be honoured at Westminster Abbey

Lord Callaghan of Cardiff (left) and Sir Edward Heath
Image caption Lord Callaghan of Cardiff (left) and Sir Edward Heath will be honoured with memorials later this year

Two former British prime ministers are to be honoured with memorial stones at London's Westminster Abbey.

Conservative Sir Edward Heath and Labour's Lord Callaghan of Cardiff will be the first PMs to receive dedications at the abbey for more than 50 years.

The stones are expected to be unveiled later this year; the news marks the centenary of James Callaghan's birth.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said it was "fitting that we should honour them".

Sir Edward, who died in 2005 at the age of 89, served as prime minister between 1970 and 1974, taking Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973.

Lord Callaghan was the country's premier from 1976 to 1979, having already served as chancellor, home secretary and foreign secretary. He also died in 2005, aged 92.

Dean Hall said: "The men and women who have contributed most to our island story and our nation's international influence are memorialised in the abbey, including most prime ministers of the 19th Century and of the first half of the 20th Century.

"And yet no prime minister since 1956 has a memorial in the abbey. I have decided, with the support of those closest to them, to include two prime ministers from the 1970s, each of whom gave dutiful service in their own time. The announcement falls on the 100th anniversary of James Callaghan's birth."

Dean Hall said that while the two premiers were on "the opposite side of many political arguments, they were both of that remarkable generation that served in the Second World War and continued to devote their lives to the service of their nation and of the world".

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