STATEMENT ISSUED BY LORD DAVID OWEN, SATURDAY 1 MARCH 2014 ON THE LABOUR PARTY SPECIAL CONFERENCE DECISION TO REFORM THE VOTING SYSTEM FOR THE LABOUR PARTY LEADER
“This is a brave and bold reform by Ed Miliband and one I strenuously argued for as a Labour MP at the special conference on Saturday, 25 January 1981. This very desirable change, nevertheless, threatens to weaken Labour’s financial support at a critical time when I and many others are hoping to see the Party produce a plan for Government from May of next year to rescue our NHS. Saving the NHS is my main political priority and I suspect that of many others. To help Labour reverse the 2012 NHS legislation without yet another major reorganization, I have made a declarable contribution of over £7,500 to Labour funds. Unless there is a change of Government the NHS in England will be completely destroyed by 2020.
I want to support Labour but also value my independence. I have informed the Convenor of the Crossbenchers in the House of Lords of this. I will continue to sit, as allowed under their rules, on the Crossbenches as I have done from 1992. However, since I can no longer be called a Crossbencher under their rules, I will now be an independent Social Democrat.”
Second Reading, Friday 10 January 2014
Lord Owen (CB)
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, must be correct that the procedure that should be followed in a perfect world would be the one that he outlined. The trouble is that we do not live in a perfect world, and we never have done. Europe splits parties and families, and has been doing so for 40 years. That is what we have to grapple with on this issue.As my noble friend Lord Roper knows, I supported a referendum in 1972, and was defeated in the argument in our group. I resigned over the issue, but it was not really the central core of that question. It is right that there was a vote—but in those days it was a vote on whether there should be referendum then, in that Parliament of 1972 to 1973. I think that this is a gimmick, in many respects. However, why are we here? We are here because successive Prime Ministers have given commitments to hold referendums and then have not done so. The country does not trust us. On this issue of Europe, they have seen party after party manoeuvre and manipulate, and they do not believe it—and they do not actually believe it, even if they say at a general election that there will be a referendum. I was told by the parties opposite at the last election that there would be no top-down changes in the National Health Service. And what have they done? We used to believe that the mandate meant something, but now we are told that the mandate cannot be trusted…
To read the full speech please click here
Article published in The Standard 6 January, 2014
The conference on Syria planned for January 22 in Switzerland, convened by US Sec- retary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, is the one hope left for a quick ceasefire. Yet that will be very difficult to achieve.
On humanitarian grounds, a genuine, monitored ceasefire is imperative — but re- alpolitik, some will argue, means there can be no ceasefire until exhaustion or victory. Also, ceasefire lines have a tradition of becoming permanent, leading to something too close to de facto partition as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the emergence of a new country, as in Kosovo…
To read the full article please click here
Lord Owen raises serious concerns over the Cabinet Secretary being final arbiter on disclosure of documents by the Chilcot Inquiry
Cabinet boss must not decide on Iraq papers, says Owen: Former Foreign Secretary demands Sir Jeremy Heywood is stripped of responsibility because he worked closely with Tony Blair…
To read the Mail Online article (published 12 November, 2013) please click link below:
To read The Times article (published 13 November, 2013) please click link below:
For the full text of Lord Owen’s letter to the Prime Minister please click on the image below
Lord Owen interview on CNN 5 November, 2013
Lord Owen suggests partition in Syria is becoming an increasingly inevitable outcome as a change in the balance of the elements of the Shia grouping takes place on the ground. He warns that a 1919 Treaty of Paris carve-up must be avoided and that solutions must come from within the region.
For the full interview on CNN International please click here