Then & Now: Gang Lords

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The Independent Online
26 March 1981: The Social Democratic Party is launched, with the intention of 'breaking the mould' of British politics. Roy Jenkins recalls those heady days in his autobiography 'A Life at the Centre':

'The essential importance of the Limehouse Declaration was not so much what it said as the fact that after a long period of internal confabulation it took us out into the public domain . . . Messages of support poured in: 8,000 came in the first week, and another 15,000 soon thereafter . . . A temporary headquarters in Queen Anne's Gate was acquired within two weeks of Limehouse, and was manned mainly by volunteers, who were often as distinguished as they were enthusiastic, and in an atmosphere of happy confusion tried to cope with the flood of letters and telephone calls. The belief that 'a new start' would appeal not only to disillusioned Labour activists but also to many of energy and public spirit who had previously been alienated from the political process proved abundantly justified from the beginning.'

30 December 1992: Shirley Williams is ennobled, the last of the 'Gang of Four' to enter the House of Lords.

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