The Rt Hon. David Pressman MP

The Rt Hon. David Pressman (born 24th November 1928) is the current Member of Parliament for Stockton, representing the Social Democratic Party.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

David Pressman was born in the village of Thorpe Thewles, as the son of cattle farmer Reg Pressman. Naturally, he took an interest in agriculture from his Father, and often performed oddjobs around the farm until leaving for university in 1946. Studying for a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture at Newcastle University, Pressman took part in numerous Student Union activities, whilst never running for Presidency or other such elected posts. Upon returning to home he started work full-time on at his Father's Haverton Cattle Farm, and became increasingly involved in the "business side" of the farms operation. He took over Haverton farm in 1954, as his Father's health deteriorated. Pressman owns Haverton farm to this date, though he lives off-site in Port Clarence with his wife, Laura [née Thomas]

Political Career[edit | edit source]

Pressman joined the Labour Party in 1953, before getting involved with the Stockton constituency branch of the Labour Party in 1956. After four years involvement, he was selected to stand for a local council election in 1960, and won his seat. Pressman served for two terms as a rural councillor, before standing down in 1968 to concentrate on his business, family, and the prepare for the possibility of becoming Labour MP for the constituency of Stockton. Pressman was duly selected and elected, and entered Westminster politics in 1970.

Pressman became an influential figure amongst backbench Labour MP's who considered themselves to be on the 'right' of the Labour Party - and was appointed as a Minister without Portfolio in the struggling Jim Callaghan government from 1977-79. Pressman formed close friendships and ideological understanding with numerous MP's of a similar ideology, notably Jamie McMahon and Dick Taverne.

Resignation from the Labour Party[edit | edit source]

During the late 70's, Pressman had become increasingly disillusioned with the influence of left-wing groupings within the Labour Movement, such as the Militant Tendency. Pressman was especially dismayed with the treatment of Tavare, who was deselected from his constituency in favour of a Tendency-approved candidate (Though Taverne went on to retain his seat, running as an independent candidate). Pressman later commented that the Taverne incident was evidence of a "campaign of cronyism" by factions within the Labour Party.

The Council for Social Democracy[edit | edit source]

Pressman co-authored the Limehouse Declaration, which was publically released on January 24th 1981. Pressman was hereby associated as part of the "Gang of Four", and became an independent MP in Parliament. In March 1981 Pressman officially tendered his resignation from the Labour party in a joint conference with other Gang of Four members, stating that "Social Democracy can no longer thrive in Labour, thanks to a deeply divided party and a biased leadership election system, designed to further the influence and the importance of groups like the Militant Tendency." This event kick-started the creation of the Council for Social Democracys Parliamentary Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)

Political Offices[edit | edit source]

Preceded by:
WT Rodgers
Member of Parliament for Stockton
1965 - Present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent |}
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