The Limehouse Declaration was a statement issued on 25 January 1981 by four senior British Labour politicians, all MPs or former MPs and Cabinet Ministers: Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams. It became known as the Limehouse Declaration as it was made from David Owen's London home in Limehouse.
In this document the so-called 'Gang of Four' signalled their intent to leave the Labour Party and form a Council for Social Democracy, as they felt the party had been taken over by the left-wing members. This Council became the basis for the British Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The Gang of Four
The Gang of Four was made up of:
- Roy Jenkins - Former Home Secretary, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP for Birmingham Stechford. He became the first leader of the SDP and was elected MP for Glasgow Hillhead
- David Owen - MP for Plymouth Devonport, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He became leader of the SDP in 1983 after Jenkins's resignation
- Shirley Williams - Former Secretary of State for Education and Science, Paymaster General, Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, Shadow Home Secretary and MP for Hertford and Stevenage. She was elected MP for Crosby
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