On 25 January 1981, four former Labour Party cabinet ministers—David Owen, Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers and Roy Jenkins, known collectively as the Gang of Four—launched the Council for Social Democracy, which became the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in March. The Gang of Four left Labour because of that party’s drift to the far left and changes in the party rules designed to further increase left-wing influence. The SDP was the first political party to be formed since 1900, and by December 1981 it had caused a major stir, attracting 70,000 members and going ahead in the opinion polls with 50 percent of national support. Twenty-seven Labour MPs and one Conservative MP also defected to the new party.
   For the first year of its existence the SDP enjoyed a honeymoon period with the media and the public, and it achieved its biggest by-election successes at this time. Yet when the SDP unveiled its policies they were not particularly innovative, despite its attempts to portray itself as a new, radical alternative of the centre left. In June 1982, the SDP and the Liberals emphasized the common ground between them and announced that they would form an alliance for electoral purposes.
   In the 1983 general election, the SDP/Liberal Alliance with its dual leadership of Roy Jenkins and David Steel gained 25.4 percent of the vote compared to Labour’s 27.6 percent, the best performance by a third party since 1923. Nevertheless, Labour took 209 seats to the Alliance’s 23 (of which only six were held by SDP candidates), due to the first-past-the-post electoral system. David Owen replaced Roy Jenkins as SDP leader, and with Steel led the Alliance into the 1987 election. Here the Alliance’s share of the vote fell and they held only 22 seats. This failure resulted in widespread calls for merger of the SDP and Liberal Party, to which Owen responded by reiterating the ‘need for a fourth party’. Owen was isolated when the SDP membership voted by 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent to join a merged party, which eventually became the Liberal Democrats (see Liberal Party). Subsequently there was an acrimonious split, with the Owenites or ‘continuing SDP’ breaking away. This undertaking was a failure, and the party was wound up in May 1990.
   See also: fringe parties
   Further reading
    Crewe, I. and King, A. (1995) SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party, Oxford: Oxford University Press (a definitive guide).

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SDP — steht für: eine ehemalige politische Partei in der DDR, siehe Sozialdemokratische Partei in der DDR (1989 gegründet, 1990 mit der SPD in der Bundesrepublik vereinigt) eine ehemalige politische Partei in der Tschechoslowakei, siehe Sudetendeutsche …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • SDP — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Las siglas SDP se pueden referir a: SDP (Session Description Protocol) protocolo de internet. Protocolo de Socket Directo Protocolo de comunicaciones de alta velocidad SDP (Sendero del Peje) medio mexicano de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • SDP — (англ. Session Description Protocol)  сетевой протокол, предназначенный для описания сессии передачи потоковых данных. Ссылки RFC 2327: SDP: Session Description Protocol Основные протоколы TCP/IP Прикладной уровень …   Википедия

  • SDP — SDP,   Abkürzung für:    1) Sozialdemokratische Partei in der DDR;    2) [esdiː pi], die britische Social Democratic Party. * * * SDP [ɛsde pe:], die; [Abk. für engl …   Universal-Lexikon

  • SDP — sigla ES ted. Sozial Demokratische Partei, partito socialdemocratico della Germania federale …   Dizionario italiano

  • SDP — The acronym SDP can stand for:*San Dieguito Partnership *Scha Dara Parr, Japanese hip hop group *Semidefinite programming An optimization procedure in mathematics. *Separation of Dispensing and Prescribing *Slavističko Druženje i Prijateljstvo… …   Wikipedia

  • SDP — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.   Sigles d’une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres > Sigles de trois lettres   Sigles de quatre lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • SDP — (in full the Social Democratic Party) a British political party formed in 1981 by a group of MPs who left the Labour Party to start a new ‘middle party’ in British politics. In 1987 it combined with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal… …   Universalium

  • SDP — Simplified Declaration Procedure requires a two stage declaration to the CHIEF system. The first stage is the provision of brief details of the consignment against which Customs clearance is given. The second stage requires the submission of a… …   Financial and business terms

  • SDP Multimedia — (short for Streaming Download Project Multimedia) is a free, but closed source project to allow the download of streaming media, which name brand media clients intentionally prevent. The goal is to let people save video they re viewing, to watch… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”