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David Owen

David OwenFormer Foreign Secretary, British Cabinet

  • Europe
  • UK

Lord (David) Owen, who became a Life Baron in 1992, sits as an independent social democrat in the House of Lords.

Previously, from 1966-92, he was a Member of Parliament for 26 years and from 1977 to 1979, he served as British Foreign Secretary – the youngest person in over forty years to hold the post.

Under Labour governments he also served as Navy Minister and Health Minister. He was Co-Founder of the Social Democratic Party (established in 1981) and its Leader from 1983-90.

From 1992-95, Owen served as EU Peace Negotiator in the former Yugoslavia. From 1999-2005, he was Chairman of New Europe, which campaigned successfully with Business for Sterling for the UK to stay outside the euro area while remaining a committed member of the EU. However, with the EU in his view becoming ever more dysfunctional and opposed to the inexorable direction towards a federal United States of Europe, he concluded it was in the best interests of the UK to leave the EU and supported and campaigned for Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum.

Owen's past business activities have included being Chairman of Europe Steel; Non-Executive Director of Abbott Laboratories; Non-Executive Director of Hyperdynamics Corporation and Consultant to Gallagher Holdings; Chairman of Global Natural Energy; and Chairman of Yukos International BV. He has also previously been a member of the Advisory Board of Terra Firma Capital Partners.

Owen writes regularly on international affairs and has written several books including: Balkan Odyssey; Time to Declare: Second Innings; In Sickness and In Power; Nuclear Papers; Europe Restructured; The Hidden Perspective: The Military Conversations of 1906-1914; and Cabinet's Finest Hour: The Hidden Agenda of 1940.

Owen holds a degree in Medicine from the University of Cambridge, and was made an Honorary Fellow of Cambridge’s Sidney Sussex College in 1977.