Letter: Alton's wrong, but we will miss him

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The Independent Online
Sir: All those who welcomed and helped at David Alton's splendid by-election victory in Liverpool in 1979 must be saddened by his decision not to stand as a Liberal Democrat again ('Pro-abortion vote is final blow for Alton', 15 September). For me, it is the sadder since he was one of the keenest and most effective supporters when I stood as a Liberal at a Manchester by-election in 1973.

In 1975, between those by-elections, the Liberal Party defined its position on the abortion law quite clearly, declaring its desire that 'women who become pregnant without wishing to, may have a genuine choice between pregnancy, abortion and motherhood'. Commending the finding of the Lane Inquiry 'that legal abortion has relieved a vast amount of human suffering', the party called for opposition to the proposed Abortion (Amendment) Bill.

David Alton is entitled to alter his opinion; he is not entitled to claim that his party did not previously have a policy on abortion.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL STEED

Canterbury,

Kent

16 September

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