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“For the first time in 14 years we have the leader of the Labour Party unequivocally committing the party to reversing the legislation which has created in England a broken down, market-based healthcare system

Statement issued by the Rt Hon Lord Owen following Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that he would ‘remove’ private provision within the NHS as part of plans to renationalise the health service.

“For the first time in 14 years we have the leader of the Labour Party today unequivocally committing the party to reversing the legislation which has created in England a broken down, market-based healthcare system: one which is unrecognisable from that which was introduced in 1948 and which still exists in the rest of the UK.

“Surely now the whole Labour movement can combine together, left, right and centre to make this official party policy at this year’s autumn conference.”

Background:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s statement means that the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 under these proposals are, in effect, rejected and will be replaced. This surely must end all Labour’s troubled equivocation over a marketised NHS and provide a political route on which party members and supporters can campaign together. Already in Scotland this is in effect government policy.

“The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill has been campaigning on a cross party basis for this outcome through successive Private Member’s Bills in both the Lords and the Commons ever since I presented the first National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill [HL] in January 2013.

“It is a triumph for learning together, with cross party grassroots organisations working closely with health and legal professionals with persistence and dedication.”

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“I mourn the loss of a great Frenchman and fine internationalist.”

Statement by the Rt Hon Lord Owen following the death of his friend, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, on 3 July 2016.

“Michel was my friend of the heart and the brain for fifty years. We agreed on a social democracy for the 21st Century. We believed in Europe as an enriching entity in all its many manifestations. For him Europe would be a supranational political design; for me a grouping of states. On that difference there were many arguments. In Paris this Spring on a European Mouvement political platform we spoke together in unison. The time had come for the EU and the Eurozone to be a United States of Europe and for Britain to leave the EU but with our friendship with France enhanced by that process. I am glad that he lived to see that British decision. But I mourn the loss of a great Frenchman and fine internationalist.”

For further French citation available here: Michel Rocard : Un grand Français et un internationaliste subtil

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Lord Owen on the Chilcot Report. “Let us be courageous enough to face the need to examine this issue in Parliament.”

Read the full speech here: HLIraqInquiry12.7.16

Extracts: It would have been much easier if the former Prime Minister had made an open confession that he had made many mistakes. Unfortunately, on the day of the report, having no doubt had access to it for some time, he produced a written statement of defiance. That defiance – the only word to describe it – cannot be left unchallenged.

He said: “If I was back in the same place with the same information, I would take the same decision”.

If that is left to stand unchallenged, Chilcot will have failed. Let us be quite clear: that statement is unacceptable and it is no honest reading of the Chilcot report.

Some people say that there should be no scapegoating. No, there should not, but it is the duty of Parliament, and particularly the House of Commons, to examine this report and make judgments.

… We now have a body of civil law to represent a civil society. It is for the courts to decide on that for the families of the soldiers who tragically lost their lives, or those suffering appalling injuries, much of which we still do not really know about.

There is the question of bringing Parliament into disrepute. That is why in another place they are perfectly right and proper to examine whether this represents contempt of Parliament.

Otherwise, what do we do? Do we just leave it? How many people ever knew, years on from the Suez crisis, that we had colluded with the Israelis and the French to occupy the Suez Canal? It is absolutely essential that this much is learned, because I am one who believes that we may have to intervene in the future.

I do not want what happened in the aftermath of this war to condemn all military interventions in the future. Let us be courageous enough to face the need to examine this issue in Parliament.

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“At Lunch With … Lord David Owen”

Lord Owen talks candidly and engagingly over tea with reporter Becky Milligan for BBC Radio 4 series “At Lunch With …”

Or visit the BBC website for “At Lunch With….”

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Stop dithering. We must leave the EU ASAP.

Lord Owen writing with Lord Lawson in City A.M., 4 July 2016.

Read the full article here: CityAM 4Jul16

Extract:

“Whoever is the new PM must enter Downing Street with clear views to discuss with a new Cabinet and when agreed, issue instructions for Whitehall to prepare to leave the EU swiftly and smoothly.

“We owe it to the business community, and to our EU partners, to minimise the period and disruption that is involved in leaving the EU

“We also owe it to the British people to deliver on the referendum vote, and not to cavil or delay taking back control over our laws, our borders and our financial contributions to the EU.

“That means starting to leave in a few months, not stretching it out for years, while discussing the transition within a democratic framework.”

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We are going to have a relationship with Europe but also a relationship with the rest of the world…Young people do not realise how much they miss from not being able to govern our own country.

Lord Owen speaking on Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show on Friday, 24 June, said:

“It is a good and clear result and we now have to implement the decision of the British people. Involving in that discussion right from the start the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish is a very good one. I personally think it would be quite wrong to proceed without taking all parts of the UK into that discussion and as part of that discussion. I think we can settle to all fair minded people a further serious devolution of power to the other nations and parts of the UK so we can remain united.

“We have to address the anxieties of the young and the challenges for them; that we are not going back on being Europeans. We are going to have a relationship with Europe but also a relationship with the rest of the world. They do not realise how much they miss from not being able to govern our own country. We did govern our own country and we knew what that meant for our democracy.

“I feel that we will be enriched in this process but for someone who has never experienced it and who has lived all their life within the EU they see all its problems. We need to take time to think through very carefully what is the right way forward.

“I do not today see any form of panic; we should wait for  solutions. We have already seen some stabilisation on the exchange rate, we have seen that the world goes on.  Change will not be implemented rapidly.  We have time to take a view and one advantage of the Prime Minister going but still staying to “settle the ship” as he calls it, is we can have those discussions and make no decision on Article 50 until after there is a new leader.”

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We continuously underestimate the underlying passion and commitment of the powerful people who run Europe and steer it towards a United States of Europe.

Speech to the Bruges Group, Monday 13 June 2016.

Read the full text here: BrugesGroup13.6.16

Watch the video of the speech and Q+A here: BrugesGroupVideo

Extract: …how is it that Margaret Thatcher, the most powerful Prime Minister we have had since we joined the Common Market in 1973, totally failed to slow down, let alone halt, the continued integration of the EU despite being, on the face of it, the most hostile Prime Minister ever towards the end result of integration – a United States of Europe.

… The answer – and it has direct relevance to why we should leave on 23 June – is that as a nation of pragmatists or shopkeepers, call it what you will, we continuously underestimate and simply will not address the underlying passion and commitment of the powerful people who on a day-to-day basis run Europe and steer it towards that end result, a United States of Europe.

We also ignore how effectively the Brussels believers turn the mind frame of the diplomats, civil servants and experts from the Member States to their ‘idea of Europe’. Part idealistic, part realistic they constantly reiterate the idea that a nation state is rather old-fashioned in a complex world. That supranationalism enshrined in Treaties, which cannot be amended, is the only way forward. That democracy is untidy, inefficient and needs to be managed and tempered by expertise. They have both a design, a method and tenacity.

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What should happen on 24 June if we have voted to leave?

Speech by Lord Owen to the Scottish Parliament Lobby Journalists’ lunch, Tuesday 7 June 2016

Lord Owen discusses what might have to happen constitutionally in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote.

“I have no hesitation in saying that it is the duty of the Prime Minister to remain in office on 24 June 2016 and stay at least until a settled framework for the transition negotiations are up and running and the country set on a new course. David Cameron has told the country that he will implement their decision. … The last thing the country needs is an immediate Conservative leadership election this summer.”

Lord Owen also considers the implications for the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“New powers are going to be acquired by all these parliaments, not least over agriculture and fishery policy. These powers would be automatically devolved, and create a powerhouse Scottish Parliament. People may be surprised by how much is devolved.”

….

“There is a growing sense of hope and enthusiasm within the country ignited by Vote Leave. There is an insurgency movement out in the country challenging the old parties. We in Vote Leave are capturing on a cross-party basis those feelings and the people sense that there is huge potential for the UK when we restore full democratic control. It is wholly consistent with this mood that we should start simultaneously structured conversations across party divisions to improve the quality of our democracy.”

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