General

Statement by The Rt Hon Lord Owen

“Surely now Liberal Democrat Peers, with a long and proud history of supporting freedom of information, will not go along with any attempt by the Coalition Government to continue with the Third Reading of this Bill in the light of today’s Information Rights Tribunal on the NHS Transition Risk Register.  If the Government insist on appealing to the High Court then they must accept that the Bill is paused until that judgement has been made. If, as they should, the Government publishes the Bill’s risk assessment now then the House of Lords will need time to satisfy itself – as I say in the motion which I have had on the Order Paper since before the Christmas recess –  “in the light of any further examination of risk, and taking account of the views of the health professions, that the risks of not proceediing with the Bill are greater than the risks inherent in the Bill itself”.

To go ahead with legislation, while appealing to the High Court, would be the third constitutional outrage associated with this legislation.  The first was to legislate within months of the Prime Minister promising in the General Election that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS. The second was to implement large parts of the legislation without Parliamentary authority.  The attempt to railroad this legislation through both Houses of Parliament has raised very serious questions about the legitimacy of this Coalition Government.  Now at the last moment Parliament has a chance to assert its democratic rights and the many Liberal Democrat Peers, who know in their heart of hearts that this legislative procedure is fundamentally wrong, have the opportunity to stand by their principles.”

Way With Words Speech: Coalition

Speech by Lord Owen at the `Way With Words’ Festival

Dartington, Sunday 10 July 2011

‘THE COALITION’

The present Coalition Government that emerged after a few days negotiation owed almost everything to the openness and generosity of the speech that David Cameron made on the Friday once he realised he had lost the General Election.  It was the surprising nature of his words that made it possible for Liberal Democrats to set aside merely supporting a Queen’s Speech of any party that had both a majority of the seats and a majority of the votes and instead actually become part of a Conservative-led coalition government. To read the full speech  please click here

Speech by Lord Owen: Learning From Opposition

Speech by Lord Owen: Learning From Oppostion. How Does Labour Avoid The Mistakes of  The Past

Click here to read full version of the speech

“31:51:81” Progress Meeting with Political Historians, Monday, 16 May 2011

30 years on from the SDP

CentreForum debate to mark the 30th anniversary of the formation of the SDP, Monday, 22 March 2011

A Message from David Owen

I wish I could have been with you to hear and contribute to the debate but I am in Germany.

I genuinely believe that all of us who were in the SDP can in our individual ways justly claim to be its heirs.  No one political party, member of one of the existing parties, or those who never joined another political party after the demise of the SDP can claim exclusivity.  And the reason I believe is that we never really succeeded in achieving an uncontested definition of what the modern social democratic party was.  This was both a weakness and a strength during the political turbulence of the 1980s.

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