For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer. He began his career as a teacher and, in 1972, while still a student, he was elected to Liverpool City Council as Britain’s youngest City Councillor. In 1979 he became the youngest member of the House of Commons and, in 1997, and when he stood down from the Commons, he was appointed a Life Peer.
Born David Patrick Paul Alton, son of Frederick and Bridget Alton. His father served in the Eighth Army, the Essex Regiment, and was a “Desert Rat,” subsequently working all his life for the Ford Motor Company. His mother was an Irish-speaking immigrant from the West of Ireland, whose own parents died in quick succession, probably of meningitis…
London, UK, 1951 of British and Irish parents. Holds British and Irish citizenship.
Edmund Campion School, Essex; Christ College Liverpool (achieved academic distinctions); St. Andrews University, Scotland (fellowship): Professor of Citizenship, Liverpool John Moores University.; Hon.Professor at Yanbian University, China.
Married to Elizabeth Bell, with four children. Resident in Lancashire, UK.
Qualified as a teacher in 1972, working in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods, teaching immigrant children and later children with special needs. While still a student, aged 21, he was elected to Liverpool City Council and became its Housing Chairman and Deputy Leader.
Elected in 1979 to the House of Commons for a Liverpool constituency, as a Liberal, becoming the youngest member and achieving a record political swing.
He was his Party’s spokesman on Home Affairs, Northern Ireland, Overseas Development and the Environment, and served as Chief Whip, Chairman of the Party’s Policy Committee and President of the National League of Young Liberals.
In 1997 he stood down from the House of Commons, and from party politics, and was nominated by the Prime Minister, Sir John Major, to the House of Lords, where he sits as an Independent Life Peer, speaking regularly on human rights and religious liberty issues. In 1997 he was appointed as Professor of Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University and established the hugely successful Roscoe Foundation for Citizenship: http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/roscoe/
In 1987 he published “What Kind of Country?” – the first of eleven books. He has also authored several reports on human rights in countries such as North Korea, Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, Sudan/Darfur, Tibet and Rwanda – all of which he has visited. Details of his reports and speeches on human rights and religious liberties are available on this web site.
2010 Report: Sudan On The Brink
Tibet Report, 2009 http://www.davidalton.com/2009/11/FINAL_PDF_Tibet_Report.pdf
North Korea Report: 2009: http://www.davidalton.com/2009/03/DPRK_2009_VISIT.doc
North Korea Report: 2003 http://www.davidalton.com/nkfinalreport.html
Darfur Report: 2004: http://www.davidalton.com/darfurreport.html
Congo Report 2004: http://www.davidalton.com/congoreport.html
Rwanda report 2004: http://www.davidalton.com/rwandareport.html
Vietnam and Religious Liberties, 2004: http://www.davidalton.com/2007/11/Vietnam%20and%20Religious%20Liberty.html
Dignitas Humanae and Its contribution to international religious freedom (the Review of Faith and International Affairs): 2006: http://www.davidalton.com/spchdignitatis.html
Building Bridges Not Walls: 2010 Report on the case for constructive but critical engagement in North Korea, following a visit to North Korea by David Alton and Baroness Caroline Cox:
Among the international awards he has received are the Michael Bell Memorial Award for Initiatives for Life, the Korean Mystery of Life Award, and the Good Samaritan Advocates International Award for human rights work. In 2005 he was created a Knight Commander of the Military Order of Constantine and St. George in recognition of his work for inter-faith and ecumenical dialogue. In 2008 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory in recognition of his work for human rights and religious liberty. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary professorship by China’s Yanbian University of Science and Technology. In 2014 he was given an award for his human rights work by the Coptic community and in 2016 was made an honorary fellow of Liverpool John Moores University for his work on citizenship.
Human Rights Work
In 1987, with Danny Smith, he launched the human rights group, Jubilee Campaign, which led to campaigns, visits and reports on the plight of Jewish and Christian dissidents in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: http://www.jubileecampaign.co.uk/
Throughout the 1990s, and subsequently, he has continued his campaigns for human rights and the sanctity of human life. In Parliament he is Chairman of the All Party Group on North Korea, Secretary of the APG on Sudan and Vice Chairman of the APGs on Tibet, Egypt, Freedom of Thought and Belief, and the APG on Foreign Affairs. He is Treasurer of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD. He is a Board Member of the Washington-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy http://www.religionandpolicy.org/cms/. In 2016 he was appointed as one of the “Sages” International Advisory Group on NorthKorea’s Human Rights.
What Kind of Country? Marshall Pickering 1987
Whose choice anyway? Marshall 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 2001Passion 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
Building Bridges – Is there hope for North Korea? (with Rob Chidley). published by Lion, 2013.
David Alton is a Patron, Trustee, President, or Vice President of a number of voluntary organisations.
Parliamentary Speeches and Interventions: 1979 – 2005
- Liverpool Edge Hill March 29, 1979 – June 9, 1983
- Liverpool Mossley Hill June 9, 1983 – March 8, 1988
- Liverpool Mossley Hill March 8, 1988 – May 1, 1997
Titles in Lords
- Baron Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool, of Mossley Hill in Liverpool) 1997 –
First recorded, on April 3, 1979 FINANCE BILL Commons
Last recorded on this site , on March 17, 2005 Mental Capacity Bill Lords. For later contributions (2005-present) visit www.theyworkforyou.com and see http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Lord_Alton_of_Liverpool&mpc=Lords&house=lords. Information presented on this page was prepared from the XML source files, together with information from the History of Parliament Trust, the work of Leigh Rayment and public sources. The means by which names are recognised means that errors may remain in the data presented.