David Steel

In this series, Peter Hennessy, the historian of modern Britain, asks a senior politician to reflect on his or her life and times. Each week, he invites his guest to explore their early influences, their experiences of events and their impressions of people they've known.
In this third episode, David Steel (now Lord Steel of Aikwood), the former Liberal Party Leader, reflects on his role in shifting Britain away from two-party politics towards multi-party politics and coalition government. He was nicknamed 'Boy David' after becoming an MP in 1965 at the age of 26, but soon established his national reputation by piloting reform of the abortion law through Parliament. He discusses his reasons for forming the 'Lib-Lab Pact' with Labour's Jim Callaghan in the late 1970s and talks about his role in encouraging the 'Gang of Four' to quit Labour and form the SDP. As a senior Liberal Democrat with strong sympathy for social democratic ideas, he reflects candidly on Nick Clegg's leadership and his party's coalition with the Conservatives.
Peter's earlier guests in this series were Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister and Roy Hattersley, the former Labour Deputy Leader. Next week's guest is Dame Margaret Beckett MP, the first woman to have been Foreign Secretary and to have led the Labour Party (in 1994) and the first woman to have been Deputy Leader of her party.
The producer is Rob Shepherd.

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28 minutes

Last on

Wed 27 Aug 2014 21:30