|Member of Parliament |
18 October 1990 – 9 April 1992
|Preceded by||Ian Gow|
|Succeeded by||Nigel Waterson|
David Frank Bellotti
13 August 1943
|Died||10 June 2015(aged 71)|
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Spouse(s)||Shelia Jones (m. 1965) |
Jennifer Compson (m.1973)
Jo Brown (m. 1996)
|Children||3 sons, 2 daughters|
He was the first Liberal Democrat politician to win a parliamentary election, following the formation of the party through the merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP. He was also the most recent UK Member of Parliament to successfully take a seat from an opposing party following the assassination of the incumbent politician.
Bellotti first contested the Eastbourne seat at the 1979 general election, subsequently fighting Lewes in the 1983 and 1987 general elections under the Liberal banner. He then won the parliamentary seat of Eastbourne for the Liberal Democrats in the 1990 by-election following the assassination of Conservative MP Ian Gow by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He became the first person to be elected as a Liberal Democrat MP after the party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP. Bellotti's win was both unexpected and controversial, with Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe noting: "Bellotti is the innocent beneficiary of murder. I suspect as last night as the Liberal Democrats were toasting their success, in its hideouts the IRA were doing the same thing". After Bellotti's win, future by-elections resulting from assassinations of MPs saw most parties decline to contest the seat. The shock defeat contributed to the end of Margaret Thatcher's premiership in November 1990 as Conservative MPs worried if they could hold their seats at a general election if she remained prime minister.
Bellotti returned to local government, regaining a seat on East Sussex County Council and was elected chairman of Sussex Police Authority. He then became CEO of Brighton & Hove Albion, a position in which he controversially took part in the sale of the indebted football club's stadium after their articles of association had been changed, allowing for profit to be made on the sale of the Goldstone Ground. This change was however reversed on the insistence of the Football Association, preventing directors from taking out more than they had invested. Bellotti became reviled by Brighton fans and left the area shortly afterwards.
After leaving the football club and losing his council seat Bellotti moved to Bath and became election agent for Don Foster MP. In May 2003 David Bellotti was elected councillor for Lyncombe ward on Bath and North East Somerset council and was re-elected in 2007 and 2011. He was appointed as chairman of the council for 2008/9 and was the council's cabinet member for resources for four years. He died on 10 June 2015, aged 71.
Bellotti married three times. His first wife was Shelia Jones, who he married in 1965. and they had a son and a daughter. He then married Jennifer Compson in 1973, with the couple having a son. His third wife was Jo Brown who he married in 1996, and with whom he had a son and daughter.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "E" (part 1)
- The Guardian, 20 October 1990
- Seldon, Anthony; Daniel Collings (2014). Britain under Thatcher. Routledge. p. 60.
- Danny Penman (6 January 1995). "Animal trade attacked by police chairman". The Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- Greg Wood (29 October 1996). "Brighton rocked by civil war". The Independent. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Lyncombe". Bath Liberal Democrats. Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Council hosts unique Fairtrade visit for Fairtrade Fortnight". Bath and North East Somerset Council. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.[dead link]
- "Former MP and Councillor David Bellotti dies at 72".