Britain's Social Democratic Party broke up in acrimony and discord. By a vote of 273 to 28 at a special meeting of its ruling 480-member council in the northern city of Sheffield, the bulk of the party chose to unite with their fellow opposition Liberals, while a minority faction will form a new party behind former leader David Owen. Owen opposed the merger on grounds that the two parties occupy divergent wings of centrist politics, notably over key issues such as nuclear deterrence. Unilateral disarmament is favored by the Liberal Party. Retention of Britain's independent nuclear force is a key plank of the Social Democrats' platform.