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"I have never been a Liberal" - in response to a heckler who shouted at Owen over his disagreement with the Tory-LibDem Coalition Government policy on the National Health Service. (decades earlier Owen had opposed the SDP merger with the Liberal Party to form the LibDems).David Anthony Llewellyn Owen (July 2, 1938 - ) born in Plympton, Devon, England is a British politician and medical doctor who served as Foreign Secretary and was co-founder and leader of the British Social Democratic Party. Owen was also the longest serving Member of Parliament in the city of Plymouth's history for both the Plymouth Sutton and later Plymouth Devonport constituencies. Owen is a controversial figure who currently sits in the House Of Lords as an Independent Social Democrat, now no longer eligible to be a crossbencher because he donated money to the Labour Party. At the height of his career, Owen was talked about as future Prime Minister or Leader of the Labour Party. After leaving Labour over policy disagreements to co-found the SDP. The SDP enjoyed a considerable honeymoon period before things eventually unraveled. It got worse after being defeated in the 1987 election when his Liberal counterpart, David Steel proposed the Liberals and Social Democrats merge into a single party. Owen opposed the merger and things eventually came to a head when the pro-merger and anti-merger ballots were cast. Owen had lost and he subsequently refused to join the new Liberal Democrats, instead forming a rump political party which eventually was embarrassed at the polls by the Monster Raving Loony Party. Owen, ashamed and embarrassed, announced the end of his party and sat his final two years in the House Of Commons as an independent. After his retirement, he unsuccessfully attempted to mediate the growing conflict in the Balkans. Today, he tends to business interests and publishing.
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