Freedom of information logo

News in 1975


1975 news events

Date News event
8 January 1975

EEC referendum 

Wilson tells the House of Commons that a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Economic Community (the "Common Market")) will take place no later than the end of June.

29 January 1975 Government defeat on Social Security Bill

Government's proposed amendment to restore a £13-a-week earnings rule for pensioners is rejected.


11 February 1975

Thatcher elected leader of the Conservative Party 

Following Edward Heath's withdrawal from the leadership contest on 4 February, Margaret Thatcher is elected the first woman to head a major British political party.

13 February 1975 Miners set for 35 per cent pay rises

British mineworkers' leaders accept the Coal Board's latest pay offer of up to 35%.


24 February 1975

Broadcasting in Parliament 

The Commons votes in favour of having its proceedings broadcast. The experiment is being restricted to sound broadcasting. 

28 February 1975

Moorgate Tube crash

A London Underground train crash at Moorgate kills 43. The train ploughs into a cul-de-sac tunnel. Verdicts of accidental deaths are recorded on all victims in an inquest on April 4. The cause of the crash remains a mystery.


12 March 1975

Former KGB chief granted visa 

Mr Alexander Shelepin, former chief of the KGB, is granted a visa to visit Britain as part of a delegation of Soviet trade unionists.

18 March 1975 Recommendation to stay in the European Community

The Prime Minister announces to the Commons that the Government is to recommend a yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on Common Market membership.


25 March 1975

Saudi's King Faisal assassinated 

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia dies after being shot at point blank range by his nephew Prince Faisal Ibu Musaed during a royal audience.

25 March 1975 National Front rallies against Europe

Members of the extreme right-wing UK party march through north London in protest against integration with Europe. 


15 April 1975

Healey presents his budget  

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dennis Healey, increases taxation by £1,251 million in his latest Budget.

21 April 1975 Vietnam's President resigns

President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam resigns from office.  In a TV and radio address, the outgoing President says his forces had failed to stop the advance of the Vietcong because of lack of funds promised to him by America.


23 April 1975

British Embassy in Saigon closed 

The Foreign Secretary, Jim Callaghan, orders the evacuation of all remaining officials from Saigon and the closure of the British Embassy in the South Vietnamese capital.

26 April 1975 Labour votes to leave the EEC

The Labour Party opposes Britain's continued membership of the Common Market by almost 2 votes to 1.


30 April 1975 

Vietnam war ends 

The government in Saigon announces its unconditional surrender to the Vietcong, thereby ending the war in Vietnam. President Duong Van Minh, who has been in office for just three days, asks his forces to lay down their arms and calls on the Vietcong to halt all hostilities. 

12 May 1975 Flixborough court of inquiry findings published

The failure of a large temporary pipe installed as a rush job is found to be the cause of the disaster on 1 June 1974.


24 May 1975

Journalists leave fallen Saigon 

Eighty journalists are the first Westerners to leave Saigon since its fall to communist forces. The city had been the headquarters of the US military until 29 April when remaining US forces left Vietnam.

 9 June 1975 House of Commons broadcasting

The BBC and Independent Radio News transmit the first live radio broadcast of the House of Commons proceedings. 


5 June 1975

Suez Canal reopens

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat re-opens the Suez Canal to all but Israeli shipping – it had been closed for 8 years since the Six Day War of June 1967.

6 June 1975 UK voters back Common Market in referendum

 Britain's continued membership of the European Economic Community is confirmed when just over 67% of voters backs the Labour government's campaign to stay in the Common Market. 


12 June 1975

MP's financial interests 

The Commons approves a motion to establish a compulsory register of MPs' financial interests.

19 June 1975 Earl of Lucan guilty of murder

An inquest jury at Westminster Coroner's Court names Lord Lucan as the murderer of Sandra Rivett, the 29-year-old nanny of the earl's three children.


5 July 1975

Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon 

American tennis player Arthur Ashe makes history by becoming the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles championship.

16 July 1975 Cabinet recommends MP pay increases

The Cabinet announces to the Commons a proposed pay increase of £24 a week for MPs.


11 August 1975

Government takes over British Leyland 

The British Government takes control of the failing company, the only major British-owned car company at the time.

14 August 1975 Stonehouse deselected from constituency Labour Party

The Labour constituency of Walsall North passes a resolution not to re-adopt John Stonehouse MP as their candidate and decides to 'sever forthwith' all connections with the disgraced MP.


19 August 1975

Demonstrators stop Test match 

The England-Australia third test is abandoned after campaigners calling for the release of robber George Davis vandalise the pitch at Headingley cricket ground.

1 September 1975 Eamon de Valera buried

The State funeral for the former President of the Irish Republic, Eamon de Valera, is conducted in Latin and Irish.


5 September 1975

London Hilton bombed 

Two people are killed and 63 injured when a suspected IRA bomb explodes in the lobby of the London Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.  


3 October 1975 Spaghetti House siege

Three West Indian gunmen give themselves up to police after releasing the last of their hostages from the cellar of the Spaghetti House restaurant in Knightsbridge, London. The crisis begins on 28 September when the three men attempt to steal the week's takings. 


9 October 1975

Man killed in Green Park bomb explosion 

A bomb explosion at a bus stop close to Green Park tube station kills one man and injures 18 others.

29 October 1975 General Franco's dictatorship ends

The heir designate, Prince Carlos of Spain, is to take over as provisional head of state after General Franco steps down as a result of his continuing illness.


3 November 1975

North Sea oil begins to flow 

The Queen formally inaugurates the UK's first oil pipeline by pushing a gold-plated button at BP's control centre at Dyce near Aberdeen to set the oil flowing.

11 November 1975 Angolan independence

Angola gains its independence from Portugal. The leader of one of the country's rival factions, Dr Agostinho Neto, of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), is the country's first president.


20 November 1975

General Franco dies 

General Francisco Franco, whose dictatorship of Spain lasted 39 years, dies at the age of 82.  

27 November 1975

Ross McWhirter shot dead by IRA

Guinness Book of Records co-founder and well-known author and TV presenter, Ross McWhirter, is shot dead outside his North London home. The IRA is believed to be behind the attack. McWhirter had previously offered a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers.

12 December 1975

Balcombe Street siege ends 

Three armed IRA men release their two hostages and give themselves up to police following a six day siege at a flat in Balcombe Street, central London. They are accused of killing Ross McWhirter, and also of carrying out attacks on London restaurants, the Hilton hotel and the Army public house at Caterham in Surrey.

29 December 1975 The Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts comes into force

The new Acts have been introduced to coincide with the end of the International Women's Year. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has been set up, and under the Act it has a duty to promote equality of the sexes.