David Atkinson (politician)

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David Atkinson
David Atkinson MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Bournemouth East
In office
25 November 1977 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byJohn Cordle
Succeeded byTobias Ellwood
Personal details
David Anthony Atkinson

(1940-03-24)24 March 1940
Essex, England
Died23 January 2012(2012-01-23) (aged 71)
Political partyConservative
Sue Pilsworth
(m. 1968; div. 1992)
Domestic partnerRobert Reid (2011–2012)

David Anthony Atkinson (24 March 1940 – 23 January 2012) was a British Conservative politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bournemouth East from a 1977 by-election until he stepped down at the 2005 general election.

Early life[edit]

Born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Atkinson attended St George's College, Weybridge and Southend College of Technology. He later trained at the Chelsea College of Aeronautical and Automobile Engineering in Chelsea where he gained a Diploma in Automobile Engineering and Motor Trade Management. From 1963–72, he was Director of Chalkwell Motor Co. Ltd in Leigh-on-Sea, and from 1973–77 he worked for David Graham Studios Ltd in printing, marketing, artwork and design.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Atkinson was national chairman of the Young Conservatives from 1970 until 1971, more right-wing than the long line of his moderate predecessors and successors. He contested the Newham North West constituency in February 1974 and Basildon in October 1974.

Atkinson became an MP at the 1977 Bournemouth East by-election, retaining the seat for his party. He served as PPS to Paul Channon and was a vociferous supporter of corporal punishment and was nearly dismissed for voting against the Government in its support.[1]

He supported local causes such as AFC Bournemouth during their financial troubles. Atkinson was vocal in his criticism of the Soviet Union and active in a number of international forums aimed at highlighting communist abuse of human rights. He was less critical of South Africa's apartheid regime, calling for the lifting of sanctions[2] and objected to the pressures being placed upon the South African Government.[3]

The Independent reported that Atkinson was invited on a visit to South Africa by Strategy Network International, the lobby group fronted by Derek Laud, the ex Monday Club member and protege of Michael Brown: "John Carlile, Mr Colvin and David Atkinson, who led an SNI delegation to observe the Angolan peace process in 1992, a year before the firm closed." [4]

Personal life[edit]

Atkinson married Susan Pilsworth in 1968 and divorced in 1992. They had a son and a daughter. He came out as gay and entered into a civil partnership in 2011. His wife discovered he had been in a relationship with footballer Justin Fashanu when Fashanu came out as gay and said he had had an affair with an unnamed, married Conservative MP whom he had met in a London gay bar. After confronting Atkinson, he revealed he was gay and had been in a series of gay relationships.[citation needed]

His son, Anthony, at first accused him of being a sexual predator and said Geoffrey Dickens had stayed at the Atkinson family home. He said he believed his father had been named in the missing Westminster paedophile dossier compiled by Dickens.[5]

Anthony Atkinson later qualified his statement to say his father had not been engaged in activity that equated to the scope and scale of Jimmy Savile's alleged activities, saying he had no evidence that his father ever had relations with anyone under-aged.[6]


In 2011, Atkinson underwent an operation after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He died on 23 January 2012 at the age of 71.[7]


  1. ^ Obituary, The Daily Telegraph; 12 February 2012; accessed 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Early Day Motion number 1109 in 1990-91, proposed by George Gardiner", edms.org.uk, 7 November 1991.
  3. ^ Hansard HC Deb 20 December 1985 vol 89 cc681-90, hansard.millbanksystems.com; accessed 11 May 2015.
  4. ^ "The Attack on Sleaze: How apartheid regime set out to woo Tories", The Independent, 26 October 1994.
  5. ^ "'My father was a sexual predator like Jimmy Savile', says son of former Tory MP", The Daily Telegraph; accessed 11 May 2015.
  6. ^ ""I didn't intend to compare my dad to Jimmy Savile": Atkinson son". BournemouthEcho.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2015. But Anthony Atkinson told the Echo he had no evidence of his father having sex with anyone who was underage or who did not consent.
  7. ^ Slade, Darren (23 January 2012). "Former Bournemouth East MP David Atkinson dies". Bournemouth Daily Echo.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Cordle
Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East
Succeeded by
Tobias Ellwood