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David Shutt

Guardian obituary

David ShuttMy long time friend David Shutt, who has died aged 78, was the Liberal Democrat deputy chief whip in the House of Lords during the coalition government in 2010 to 2012. He combined two powerful traditions: northern municipal Liberalism and the Quaker commitment to internationalism and unpopular causes.

His father, Edward Shutt, was a builder and constructed the family home that he and David's mother, Ruth (nee Berry), a dressmaker, occupied throughout their married life. David was born in Farsley, on the outskirts of Leeds, and attended Pudsey Grammar School. He trained as an accountant and went to work at Bousfield Waite & Co in Halifax. He joined the Liberal Party in Pudsey as a teenager, where he met Margaret (nee Pemberton), whom he married in 1965.

We met in 1967 when the party despatched me to Yorkshire to become the county's regional secretary. We became friends very early and David was a reliable and shrewd colleague throughout many political vicissitudes.

Although he fought seven parliamentary elections in Yorkshire between 1070 and 1992, it was his 25 years as a councillor in the Calder Valley that gave him greater satisfaction. He served as the Mayor of Calderdale in 1982-83 and was awarded the OBE in 1993 in recognition of his political and public service. David was appointed a life peer in 2000 and became the Liberal Democrat chief whip in the Lords in 2005. Without being informed in advance he was appointed as the coalition government's Deputy Chief Whip in the Lords in 2010. He was highly amused to find that he had thus acquired the title Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of Yeoman of the Guard but less pleased to discover the curious uniform that he had to wear, complete with spurs, for ceremonial occasions.

His Quaker faith and Liberal politics made him a natural choice as a director and later chairman of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, through which he supported community projects such as the conversion of the Birchcliffe Baptist Chapel in Hebden Bridge into a conference centre and community resource.

His final speech, just days before his death, was to move a successful amendment ensuring that young people of 16 and 17 would automatically be added to the electoral register so that they could vote as soon as they turned 18.

For leisure David "collected" islands and would enjoy ticking them off his list as he visited them with Margaret. He was particularly delighted to capture St Helena as a member of a parliamentary delegation. His love of music led him to chair the Halifax Choral Society and to sing in the parliamentary choir.

He is survived by Margaret and by his daughter, Christine, sons, Richard and Andrew, and six grandchildren.

David Trevor Shutt, Lord Shutt of Greetland, politician, born 16 March 1942, died 30 October 2020. He leaves a wife, Margaret, a daughter, Christine, and two sons, Richard and Andrew, and six grandchildren.