On March 29th 1979 David recorded what was then the biggest ever political swing becoming the both the youngest MP of the Parliament and the shortest lived. Elected the day after the Callaghan Government lost the Vote of Confidence, he served for two days before returning to Liverpool to fight the subsequent General Election.
He successfully held Edge Hill and then Mossley Hill in the General Elections of 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992. He stood down in 1997 after disagreeing with the Lib Dem decision to make support for abortion a party policy rather than a question of conscience. In 1997 John Major recommended his appointment to the House of Lords where he has served as an Independent Crossbench Peer.
Having been elected as the UK’s youngest City Councillor while still a student in 1972, David became Deputy Leader and Housing Chairman of Liverpool Council.Â Until his election to Parliament he was a teacher. Throughout the 1980s he held a series of parliamentary portfolios — including Home Affairs, Environment and Northern Ireland. He served as his Party’s Chief Whip and was President of the National League of Young Liberals.
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. In 1987 he published “What Kind of Country?” — the first of ten books and introduced a Private Member’s Bill to lower the upper time limit for abortions. The Bill received 296 votes and a majority of 45 and never lost a vote but was later talked out by opponents.
In 1988 he married Lizzie Bell — and Marianne was born the following year, followed by Padraig, Philip and James. Throughout the 1990s, and subsequently, he has continued his campaigns for human rights and the sanctity of human life.Â This work has taken him illegally into Burma,Â to North Korea, the favelas of Brazil, the Middle East, the Congo, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Darfur and other areas of conflict.Â In Parliament he is Chairman of the All Party Group on North Korea, Secretary of the APG on SudanÂ and Vice Chairman of the APG on Tibet. He is Treasurer of the Parliamentary friends of CAFOD. He has been a vociferous opponent of human cloning,Â animal-human hybrid embryos, and the legalisation of euthanasia.
In 1996 David became a Visiting Fellow of St Andrew’s University; in 1997 he was appointed Professor of Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University, where he established the Foundation for Citizenship and the Roscoe Lecture series. He is a Foundation Governor of the Liverpool Bluecoat School and a Governor of Stonyhurst College. Among the international awards he has received are the Michael Bell Memorial Award for Initiatives for Life, the Mystery of Life Award, and the Advocates International award for human rights work.
Crisis (charity for the homeless)
Habitat for Humanity
Mersey Kidney Research
Jospice (St.Joseph’s Hospice, Merseyside.)
Right To Life
Zoe’s Place, Liverpool.
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Turkana New Ways Appeal (Kenya)
Network of Child Contact and Access Centres
International Young Leaders Network
Motec Life (Ghana)
Asylum Link Merseyside
The Bible Society
Stephen’s Children (Cairo)
Francis House, Manchester.
Friends of St.Mary Abbot’s
Co-founder of Jubilee Campaign in Parliament and the Epiphany Trust