Announcement of the Limehouse Declaration

Following a special Labour Party conference which gave the lion’s share of the vote in future Labour leadership elections to the trade unions and relegated the share of the Parliamentary party to equal status with the constituency activists, the Gang of Three (Bill Rodgers, David Owen and Shirley Williams) were finally convinced that the social democratic tradition in the Labour Party could not be saved. Together with Roy Jenkins, so now the Gang of Four, they issued the “Limehouse Declaration” outside Owen’s home in Limehouse signalling their defection from Labour and the formation of a Council for Social Democracy. This set a road map for the formation of the Social Democratic Party which was launched on 26 March 1981 and the formal Alliance with the Liberal Party later that year.