David Alton, Lord Alton of Liverpool

David Patrick Paul Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool, KCSG, KCMCO was born in London of British and Irish parents and holds both British and Irish citizenship. He was educated at Edmund Campion School, Essex; Christ College Liverpool (achieved academic distinctions); St. Andrews University, Scotland (fellowship). He was Professor of Citizenship, Liverpool John Moores University (1997-2016), Hon. Professor at Yanbian University, China, and Visiting Professor Liverpool Hope University. 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. His motto on his Coat of Arms is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy: Choose Life. In 1990, with Ken Hargreaves MP, he co-founded the nonpartisan Movement for Christian Democracy which emerged from the Epiphany Group which he had convened the previous year. It published its Westminster Declaration based on six principles: social justice, respect for life, active compassion, empowerment and good stewardship. He was one of the six MPs who first called for the televised broadcasting of Parliament; one of the officers of the parliamentary committee that opposed anti-personnel land mines; one of the six signatories of the Motion that challenged the safety of the convictions of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four; and one of the four Peers who moved the “Dubs amendment” to provide sanctuary in the UK for unaccompanied refugee children.

Lord Alton is Founder and co-chairman of the British-DPRK All-Party Parliamentary Group, and visited Pyongyang on four occasions, including in October 2010 when he had talks with leaders of the North Korean government including Choe Thae Bok, chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament and when he protested about human rights violations in that country, raising specific cases with their Ministers. He details his experiences in his book, written with Rob Chidley,”Bulding Bridges: Is there Hope For North Korea?” (Lion 2013) one of eleven books he has authored.

In March 2017, as a member of the Sages Group (to which he was appointed in 2016), he spoke at a forum of the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, alongside His Honour Judge Michael Kirby (chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry into North Korea) and Dr.Marzuki Darusman, former UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea, and called for the regime’s leaders to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.

In Parliament, he is co-Chairman of the All Party Groups on North Korea and Pakistan Minorities.

He is Secretary and a past Chairman of the All Party Group on Sudan and South Sudan, visited the South during the civil war and visited Darfur. He has regularly highlighted the atrocities committed there, including a 2016 letter to The Timesabout the alleged use of chemical weapons in Darfur.

He serves as Vice Chairman of the All Party Groups on Egypt, Tibet, Eritrea, Haiti, and Uganda and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma; and is Vice Chair of  the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests which was established to investigate and highlight the use of the drug ‘Primodos’.   He was a Founder of the All Party Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He is a Patron of the London-based rights group Save the Congo!

In 2016 he was appointed as one of the “Sages” International Advisory Group on North Korea’s Human Rights.  In November 2018 he visited Pakistan, travelling to Lahore and Islamabad, and raised the case of Asia Bibi  the plight of minorities. In Washington he spoke at a meeting in Congress about the persecution of Copts and in New York at a Summit on the infringements to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.