David Owen

David Anthony Llewellyn Owen, Baron Owen, CH, PC, FRCP (born 2 July 1938)[1] is a British politician and physician who served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs as a Labour Party MP under James Callaghan from 1977 to 1979.


The Lord Owen

David Owen in 2018
Leader of the "Continuing" Social Democratic Party
In office
3 March 1988  6 June 1990
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded byParty dissolved
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
21 June 1983  6 August 1987
PresidentShirley Williams
Preceded byRoy Jenkins
Succeeded byBob Maclennan
Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
October 1982  21 June 1983
LeaderRoy Jenkins
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy
In office
14 July 1979  4 November 1980
LeaderJames Callaghan
ShadowingDavid Howell
Preceded byTom King
Succeeded byMerlyn Rees
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
4 May 1979  14 July 1979
LeaderJames Callaghan
ShadowingThe Lord Carrington
Preceded byFrancis Pym
Succeeded byPeter Shore
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
21 February 1977  4 May 1979
Prime MinisterJames Callaghan
Preceded byAnthony Crosland
Succeeded byThe Lord Carrington
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
10 September 1976  21 February 1977
Prime MinisterJames Callaghan
Sec. of StateAnthony Crosland
Preceded byRoy Hattersley
Succeeded byFrank Judd
Minister of State for Health and Social Security
In office
26 July 1974  10 September 1976
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Sec. of StateBarbara Castle
David Ennals
Preceded byBrian O'Malley
Succeeded byRoland Moyle
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security
In office
8 March 1974  26 July 1974
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Sec. of StateBarbara Castle
Preceded byMichael Alison
Succeeded byRobert Brown
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Royal Navy
In office
3 July 1968  18 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Sec. of StateDenis Healey
Preceded byMaurice Foley
Succeeded byPeter Kirk
Parliamentary offices
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
30 June 1992
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Plymouth Devonport
In office
28 February 1974  9 April 1992
Preceded byJoan Vickers
Succeeded byDavid Jamieson
Member of Parliament
for Plymouth Sutton
In office
31 March 1966  28 February 1974
Preceded byIan Fraser
Succeeded byAlan Clark
Personal details
Born
David Anthony Llewellyn Owen

(1938-07-02) 2 July 1938 (age 83)
Plympton, Devon, England
Political partyIndependent (1990–present)[nb]
Other political
affiliations
Crossbench (1992–2014)
Independent SDP (1992–1992)
SDP–Liberal Alliance (1981–1988)
Social Democratic (1981–1990)
Labour (1960–1981)
Spouse(s)
Deborah Schabert
(m. 1968)
ChildrenTristan · Gareth · Lucy
Alma mater
n.b. ^ Sits in the House of Lords as an "Independent Social Democrat".

Owen served as British Foreign Secretary from 1977 to 1979, at the age of 38 the youngest person in over forty years to hold the post. In 1981, Owen was one of the "Gang of Four" who left the Labour Party to found the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was the only member of the Gang of Four who did not join the Liberal Democrats, which was founded when the SDP merged with the Liberal Party. Owen led the Social Democratic Party from 1983 to 1987, and the continuing SDP from 1988 to 1990. Appointed as a life peer in 1992, he sat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher until March 2014, and now sits as an "independent social democrat".[2]

In the course of his career, Owen has held, and resigned from, a number of senior posts. He first quit as Labour's spokesman on defence in 1972 in protest at the Labour leader and former Prime Minister Harold Wilson's attitude to the European Economic Community; he left the Labour Shadow cabinet over the same issue later; and over unilateral disarmament in November 1980 when Michael Foot became Labour leader. He resigned from the Labour Party when it rejected one member, one vote in February 1981 and later as Leader of the Social Democratic Party, which he had helped to found, after the party's rank-and-file membership voted to merge with the Liberal Party.