As the minister responsible for Western Europe, Heathcoat-Amory also covered Latin American countries. He observes en passant that:
Cultivating these relationships seemed a better use of my time than spending hundreds of hours in Brussels arguing about strategic growth initiatives — particularly as many . . . were growing faster than the rather sclerotic trade bloc that the EU had become.
Put like that, it pretty well demolishes the case for UK membership of the EU.
Heathcoat-Amory lost Wells by 800 votes. The UKIP candidate polled 1,711. The smaller party's insistence on standing was, sadly, to put impossible strain on Heathcoat-Amory's friendship with Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the former Tory peer who at that time was leading UKIP. It was also, of course, to remove the Tory Eurosceptic leader and install a federalist Lib Dem.
There, in miniature, is Britain's tragedy. A fundamentally Eurosceptic electorate keeps returning Euro-enthusiast majorities to the House of Commons, partly because the anti-Brussels vote is dispersed.
One way or another, we have to get to the stage where Tory and UKIP voters can back the same candidates. Heathcoat-Amory was someone with the authority to broker such a deal. In his absence, it's not clear who can.