Richard Wilson (Letters, 4 December) is incorrect when he states that Michael Heseltine stood as a National Liberal in the 1959 general election and implies that he has returned to the Liberal fold.
By 1959, the term “Liberal” was used by some Conservatives, most of whom had no connection with British liberalism, in a variety of ways. A quick glance at my 1951 Times guidebook to the House of Commons reveals National Liberal and Conservative, Conservative and National Liberal, Liberal and Conservative and Conservative and Liberal. These labels were sometimes used to acknowledge previous mergers of National Liberal and Conservative associations but were often used with no justification whatsoever.
In an interview with David Dutton for his authoritative history of the National Liberals, Heseltine, who stood as a Conservative and National Liberal, said that the use of “National Liberal” was just a “historic relic; it played no part in the campaign”.
The historic Liberal party described such Conservative candidates as “liquorice allsorts”. As a former Liberal party member, now a Liberal Democrat, I am delighted to have Heseltine and many other moderate Conservatives appalled at Boris Johnson’s Tory party on my side. In the light of the press conference at which Heseltine endorsed Sam Gyimah (ex-Tory) and Chuka Umunna (ex-Labour) as Lib Dem candidates, perhaps the fluidity of current British politics is making liquorice allsorts of us all.
Rev Paul Hunt
St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex
• Join the debate – email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters
• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition