Martin Bell’s careers, as foreign affairs correspondent and then as politician, have been remarkably colourful.
As one of the most distinguished foreign affairs reporters of his generation, Martin Bell was among those who defined the term “war correspondent”. He later stole the show in the 2001 election campaign with his anti-sleaze battle against MP Neil Hamilton.
Martin joined the BBC in 1965 and throughout the following 30 years, he reported from 80 countries and covered 11 conflicts. He made his name in Vietnam in the 1960s, and also covered wars in the Middle East, Nigeria, Angola and Rwanda, as well as numerous assignments in Northern Ireland.
His uncompromising style of journalism won him the Royal Television Society’s Reporter of the Year award in 1977, and again in 1993. He was awarded an OBE in 1992.
His legendary fight for the safe Conservative seat at Tatton, on an independent, anti-corruption ticket, made him a symbol of the revolt against perceived sleaze in the governing Conservative Party. He won the seat with an 11,000 majority.
He is currently an ambassador for UNICEF and is an outspoken critic of the state of journalism and politics today.
He has written four books; In Harm’s Way (1995), An Accidental MP (2000) and Through Gates of Fire (2003) and The Truth That Sticks: New Labour’s Breach of Trust (Icon Books). His new book, A Very British Revolution: The Expenses Scandal and How to Save Our Democracy is due out in October 2009.
A Very British Revolution: The Expenses Scandal and How to Save Our Democracy (Icon, 2009)
The Truth That Sticks: New Labour’s Breach of Trust (Icon, 2008)
An Accidental MP (Penguin, 2001)
"No word was untested, no argument taken for granted, no opinion dismissed without argument nor accepted without argument."
David Jones, professor of bioethics, St Mary's University College