David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool


David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool
The Right Honourable
The Lord Alton of Liverpool
Member of Parliament
for Liverpool Mossley Hill
(Liverpool Edge Hill 1979–1983)
In office
19 March 1979 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Sir Arthur Irvine
Succeeded by constituency abolished
Personal details
Born David Patrick Paul Alton
15 March 1951 (1951-03-15) (age 60)
London[1]
Political party None
Other political
affiliations
Liberal (1972–1988)
Liberal Democrat (1988–1997)
Religion Roman Catholic

David Patrick Paul Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool (born 15 March 1951) is a British politician. He is a former Liberal Party and later Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) who now sits as cross bench member of the House of Lords. He was made a Life peer as Baron Alton of Liverpool, of Mossley Hill in the County of Merseyside in 1997. He is noted for his opposition to abortion. He has British and Irish citizenship.

Contents

Education and entry into politics

David Alton was educated at the Campion School, Hornchurch, Greater London, and Christ's College of Education, Liverpool. He began his career as a teacher and, in 1972, he was elected as a Liberal to Liverpool City Council as Britain's youngest City Councillor. He was elected as MP for Liverpool Edge Hill at a by-election in 1979, when he became the "Baby of the House".

When the Edge Hill constituency was abolished for the 1983 general election, he was elected as MP for the new Liverpool Mossley Hill constituency.

Political career

From 1979 to 1988 he was a Liberal MP, and served at various times as spokesman on the Environment, Home Affairs, Northern Ireland and as Chief Whip. In 1987 he resigned as chief whip to campaign for his unsuccessful private members' bill which aimed to stop late abortions.

The Liberal Party merged in 1988 with the SDP, and from 1988 to 1997 he served as a Liberal Democrat MP, but had difficult relations with parts of the party, especially over attempts to make the party adopt a pro-choice position on abortion.

He is known for his strongly Pro-Life position on abortion, which went against the pro-choice politics of some in his party. In 1992, he announced that he would not stand again as a Liberal Democrat after the Party made support for abortion a party policy for the first time. He stood down as an MP at the 1997 general election. He was given a peerage as a personal choice of John Major in the Dissolution Honours and took his seat in the House of Lords as a Cross-bencher.

In 1997, Lord Alton of Liverpool was appointed Professor of Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University and founds the Foundation for Citizenship there. He chairs the Roscoe Lectures [2] which has been addressed by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, amongst others.

Lord Alton is chairman of the British-DPRK All-Party Parliamentary Group, and visited Pyongyang in October 2010[3] when he had talks with leaders of the North Korean government including Choe Thae Bok, chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly,[4] the country's rubber-stamp parliament.

Lord Alton has been a key campaigner against the Labour Government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, opposing the creation and use of animal human hybrid stem cells for medical purposes.[5]

Human rights

Lord Alton established the successful lobby group for human rights, Jubilee Campaign, in 1987, with the support of numerous members of parliament. Since then, he has also co-founded Jubilee Action, a children's charity established to fulfil the humanitarian needs highlighted by the work of Jubilee Campaign.

In 2008, he publicly spoke out against the British Olympic Association when it forced athletes to sign an agreement forbidding them from criticizing China's human rights record before or during the 2008 Olympic games.[6]

He is a patron of the International Young Leaders Network.[7]

Books

Lord Alton of Liverpool is also an accomplished author and has published several non-fiction titles:

  • What Kind of Country? Marshall Pickering 1987
  • Whose choice anyway? Marshal Pickering 1988
  • Faith in Britain Hodder & Stoughton 1991
  • Signs of Contradiction Hodder & Stoughton 1996
  • Life After Death Christian Democrat Press 1997
  • Citizen Virtues Harper Collins 1999
  • Citizen 21 Harper Collins 2001
  • Pilgrim Ways St Pauls Publishing 2001
  • Passion and Pain (with Michele Lombardo) and accompanying DVD of TV series 2003
  • Euthanasia: Getting To The Heart of The Matter (with Martin Foley) 2005
  • Abortion: Getting To The Heart of The Matter (with Martin Foley) 2005

See also

References

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Irvine
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Edge Hill
19791983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Liverpool Mossley Hill
19831997
Preceded by
Andrew MacKay
Baby of the House
1979
Succeeded by
Stephen Dorrell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alan Beith
Liberal Chief Whip
1985 – 1987
Succeeded by
Jim Wallace

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