Slipman Sue

Sue Slipman


A graduate of the University of Wales, Lampeter, Slipman went on to teacher training at the University of London.


Slipman was briefly a member of the Communist Party when she was the first woman to be elected President of the National Union of Students in 1977. Like most NUS Presidents of the time she was elected on the ticket of the NUS Broad Left, a coalition of the Communist Party and Labour Party, with groups such as Plaid Cymru and others in support.


After the NUS, she briefly worked for the National Union of Public Employees. But she then amazed many when she resigned from the Communist Party to directly join the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Many critics of revisionism saw little contradiction in the move!  


Slipman, speaking at the 1987 SDP conference, was an enthusiastic convert to the free market policies of the Tories, in that she was a strong advocate of the notion that “The SDP should retain the classless opportunities provided by Thatcherism”. She also thought that “The SDP should civilise the Thatcherite project" and that "The SDP should be a friendly critic of Thatcherism".

Slipman’s adherence to the SDP was virtually as shallow and fleeting as she had been to the Communist Party. She stood in Hayes and Harlington in the 1987 general election for the SDP, securing a very poor vote of around 15%.  This had traditionally been a safe Labour seat until 1981, when the then Labour MP, Neville Sandelson, defected to the SDP. A three-way split in the vote enabled by Slipman gave the seat to ultra right-wing Conservative Terry Dicks in 1983. In 1997, the seat swung heavily back to the Labour Party. Pic: Slipman with David Owen, SDP leader.

There is an unconfirmed report that Slipman may have later actually joined the Conservative Party, along with Harrow West SDP and SDP LSE student organiser Daniel Finkelstein.


In 1986, she was appointed Director of the National Council for One Parent Families, which she ran until 1995, when she went to a body linking Training and Enterprise Councils in London. In 1998, Slipman headed the `social responsibility’ work of the National Lottery operators, The Camelot Group. She then moved to become “Chairman” of the UK's Financial Ombudsman Service. In 2005 she became a director of the Foundation Trust Network. She has accepted an OBE.


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