David Owen

Former SDP Leader David Owen Backs Corbyn’s Manifesto and Donates to Labour

Former SDP leader, and Labour Foreign Secretary, Lord David Owen has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto is better than 1983’s ‘longest suicide note in history’ and has donated to the party.

Lord Owen told South Yorkshire Briefing: “I was prepared not to make a national donation this time around but was pleasantly surprised that the manifesto was a lot better than expected.

“On NATO, the EU and the nuclear deterrent it is streets better than 1983.

“It is certainly far better than that on which the Labour Party fought the election in 1983 and I think it has to be acknowledged that Jeremy Corbyn has shown more flexibility in taking account of Labour MPs and party members’ views than ever Michael Foot did.”

Lord Owen was a Labour dissident in the early 1980s when Michael Foot was leader of the party. He, along with Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers left the party in 1981 to start the Social Democratic Party.

David Owen giving a speech.
David Owen. CC BY-SA by LoopZilla

At their peak, the SDP had 28 MPs. Lord Owen was later leader between 1983 and 1990.

He stood down from Parliament as MP for Plymouth Devonport in 1992.

“I think there are grounds for thinking the credibility of Labour in opposition will improve over the next few years…”
He has donated nationally to the Labour Party, but at a lower amount than his £10,000 donation in 2015. He has also donated to Luke Pollard, the Labour candidate in his former seat.

Pollard lost the election in 2015 by 523 votes.

The independent peer, who was the youngest Foreign Secretary in 40 years, did say that the manifesto wasn’t as strong on economic policy. He said: “Even on economic issues there is an improvement – but it is not an economic manifesto which meets the needs of the British economy during and after the Brexit negotiations.”

Despite his backing for the party’s manifesto, Lord Owen does not believe that Labour are on the cusp of power. “You cannot explain away the persistent Conservative lead.” he said.

“I do think it is very important that there is a credible official opposition to the Conservatives and therefore I hope sensible Labour candidates are elected”

He backed Corbyn’s Labour to improve, saying: “I think there are grounds for thinking the credibility of Labour in opposition will improve over the next few years which is strongly in the national interest.”

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  1. Reply

    The UK Liberal Party will never do any good now. They blew it BIG TIME, back then during the Coalition. Owen knew exactly what he was doing to back Corbyn as described on this page. Totally wasted their opportunity they did.

  2. Reply

    I wish to read even more things about it! David Owen was or is, a good, and a nice politician. Where is he now?

  3. Reply

    I would like to say you’ve put in this blog some interesting political weirdness. In fact, I am finding it hard to take in. Why would David Owen give his money to a rival party? You Brits have some crazy politicians. Yes?

  4. Reply

    I really like your blog..

    I found this quote on the internet and it is attributed to David Owen:

    It’s sad that justice in a way has been cheated. He was the first head of state to be given a trial, he’s been given a very fair trial, it’s taken an extraordinarily long time. I think people everywhere, but particularly in the former Yugoslavia and in Bosnia were wanting this verdict. They now will feel cheated and it’s a tragedy in a way that justice has not been able to give the verdict which we was important to hear.

    But it doesn’t say who he was talking about. Who was he referring to?


    1. Reply

      That was Radovan Karadžić.

      He was the President of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War, and was later convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. (Wikipedia)

  5. Reply

    Is Jo Swinson still an MP? I have seen her in the news for a long while. I thought she was quite good.

    1. Reply

      Jo Swinson a British Liberal Democrat politician who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 22 July to 13 December 2019. She lost her seat unfortunately.

  6. Reply

    Did you know that, the UK is one of the most geographically unequal countries in the developed world; compared with 26 other developed countries, it ranks near the top of the league table on most measures of regional economic inequality.

  7. Reply

    An impressive! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing conducting research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him… lol.

    • Evette Andrzejewski
    • January 25, 2021

    Really a wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information. We used to hear about these people almost every day in the UK, but who knows what David Owen is doing now, and as for Jeremy Corbyn that last election in 2019 when his party got such a drubbing for prevaricating on Brexit. Never is his name even mentioned!

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