Domestic Issues

Statement By Lord Owen On the Labour Party Special Conference Decision


“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.”

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:

Mail Online article

To read The Times article (published 13 November, 2013) please click link below:

Times article

For the full text of Lord Owen’s letter to the Prime Minister please click on the image below

Debate on The Future of NHS Funding

Debate in The House of Lords, Thursday 11 July, 2013

Lord Owen: My Lords, following on from what the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said, one of the strengths of what was initially introduced as an internal market was that it would be able to show people the costs of healthcare in a far more systematic way than hitherto. In my view, it is a tragedy that the internal market has been changed into an external market, and we have lost the growing acceptance of people in explaining—particularly doctors and those who make financial decisions in the health service—what it costs…

To read the full debate please click here

Our NHS Press Release

Lord Owen Condemns  “Conspiracy of Silence” on EU US Trade Deal

Press Release Thursday 16 May 2013

Introducing his NHS Bill (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill Lord Owen calls today for transparency from Prime Minister David Cameron over the secret mandate for the EU-US Trade Negotiations which he hopes to boost at the G8 Summit in five weeks time in Northern Ireland…

To read the full press release including links to notes on the NHS bill please click here

Lord Owen makes impassioned speech in House of Lords debate to annul National Health Service Regulations 2013

Speech by Lord Owen in The House of Lords

Lord Owen: My Lords, the noble Lord and I served together in the Department of Health many years ago, and he will remember that his then boss, Barbara Castle, warned in the 1975 referendum about the impact of the European Economic Community, as it was then called. I thought she was greatly exaggerating the challenge, but it was interesting in that campaign that the allegation that the European Economic Community contained within it the capacity to interfere in the National Health Service was specifically denied…

To read the full speech please click here

Lord Owen pays tribute to Baroness Thatcher

Article by Lord Owen, published in The Telegraph, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: they underrated her, and always paid the price

Mrs Thatcher was not regarded as much of a threat by the Labour Party when she became Conservative leader in 1975

Not many people in 1975 believed that Margaret Thatcher would be as serious a threat to Labour as she became. Barbara Castle, however, sensed immediately that she was a star: “She has lent herself with grace and charm to every piece of photographers’ gimmickry, but don’t we all when the prize is big enough?… She is in love; in love with power, success and with herself… If we have to have Tories, good luck to her…”

To read the full article please click here

House of Lords Second Legislation Scrutiny Committee Report Out Today

To read the full House of Lords Second Legislation Scrutiny Committee Report please click here

Note: Please refer to Instrument C: National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013 pp 6 of 33 to 12 of 33 and the conclusion on p 12 of 33.


Lord Owen comments below on the Scrutiny Committee Report (NHS Regulations: Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition, 2013) published today, 21 March 2013:

“It is short succinct and devastating and deserves to be read in full by all concerned with the new NHS legislation. People will at last recognise that with indecent haste the Government has neither consulted properly on this secondary legislation,  nor fulfilled it’s promises made during the passage of the primary legislation
Most seriously of all the wording is unclear, confusing and will create conflicting interpretations. At the minimum both regulations should now be withdrawn or annulled.
There is no hurry CCGs have no need to start in April and the process is now very likely to go to judicial review and may well need to go to judges for a formal Declaration on what some wording actually means.”

Letter from Lord Owen to Clerk of The Lords Secondary Legislation Committee re Section 75 Regulations

Letter from Lord Owen to The Clerk of the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, 4 March 2013

Dear Clerk

Further to my email of 22 February I have now seen a recent letter that Earl Howe has sent to his colleagues in the House of Lords. The letter states that the Section 75 Regulations “enshrine the principle that it is Commissioners who are best placed to determine requirements for improving services and to decide which provider or providers are best able to deliver those requirements.” What the letter does not state is that in making these decisions, Commissioners must abide by all of the Regulations and any failure to do so will be investigated and remedied by Monitor. It was because of our concern over this ambiguity and potential conflict that we attached importance to Earl Howe’s commitment in the House of Lords when he said, “This will be made absolutely clear through secondary legislation and supporting guidance as a result of this Bill’…

To read the full letter please click here