Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release referring to former Social Democrats supporting John Major. It was issued on Monday 17th February 1992, reference 214/92. There is also a Social Democrats press release with further biographical details.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS FOR JOHN MAJOR
The Rt Hon John Major MP (Huntingdon), Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party today welcomed a number of former members of the SDP to Conservative Central Office. He said:
“I am delighted to welcome so many leading members of the SDP into the Conservative Party today. It is particularly significant that young SDP members are so well represented. They can see that Britain’s future prosperity depends on a continuation of Conservative Government.”
“I have always believed strongly that only a tough-minded determination to improve economic efficiency can produce the resources to provide generous help for those in need. That is why the Conservative Party is the natural home for all those who used to support the SDP.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Twenty former members of the SDP, including five of the Party’s 1987 General Election candidates, two former National Secretaries, a former Policy Director and a political advisor to the Rt Hon Dr David Owen MP, have backed the Conservative Party and will be urging other former SDP members to vote for John Major and the Conservatives at the next election.
The text of a statement released by the Group is given below:
“Throughout the 1980s the Conservatives and the SDP were the only parties to stand firm on the key issues of the day – the market economy, trade union reforms, the Falklands War and Britain’s defence.”
“In 1990 the SDP realised it was no longer a viable political party and wound itself up.”
“Now, in the 1990s, only the Conservatives support the social market economy, strong and independent defence, a firm voice for Britain in Europe and urgent reform of the public sector to make it more responsive to its users.”
“Our decision to join the Conservative Party is also a reflection of the changes in policy initiated by John Major – to abandon the community charge, unfreeze child benefit and tackle the urgent problem of homelessness – while not abandoning its commitment to the defeat of inflation, sound money and the privatisation programme.”
“The next election will be a watershed for Britain. Either we can continue to move forward with the Conservatives or we can retreat into the past with Labour, or another dismal Lib-Lab pact. Both would prolong the recession by destroying Britain’s competitiveness.”
“The key to Britain’s future is a strong but socially responsible market economy, generating the economic growth necessary to spread prosperity and opportunity to all the people of Britain. We shall argue that case as strongly in John Major’s Conservative Party in the 1990s as we did in the SDP of the 1980s.”