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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.

David Alton - Westminster


BBC News: The top ten peers’ peers of 2013


BBC News: Political lives: David Alton on abortion, Militant and Clegg


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…

Curriculum Vitae


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.

Voluntary Work

David Alton is a Patron, Trustee, President, or Vice President of a number of voluntary organisations.

Contact Details

House of Lords: 0207 219 3551
University: 0151 231 3852 (Secretary: Mrs. Barbara Mace)
E-Mail: altond@parliament.uk
Postal address: House of Lords, London SW1A OPW.

Parliamentary Speeches and Interventions: 1979 – 2005


  1. Liverpool Edge Hill March 29, 1979 – June 9, 1983
  2. Liverpool Mossley Hill June 9, 1983 – March 8, 1988
  3. Liverpool Mossley Hill March 8, 1988 – May 1, 1997

Titles in Lords

  1. Baron Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool, of Mossley Hill in Liverpool) 1997 –


First recorded, on April 3, 1979 FINANCE BILL Commons

By year, 6560 in total: 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

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.

David Alton

Walking The Saints’ Way, Cornwall, 2012.

Climbing Croagh Patrick 2012

Tyburn Lecture 2012

Overlooking Lough Mask from the site of the old Mulroe home in Tourmakeady, Mayo, West of Ireland. 2012 – Philip, Padraig, Marianne and James.

1995 August announcement of decision to stand down from the House of Commons at the following election (32)