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.”