He became first a Liberal, and then a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Calderdale MBC, first in 1973 (with a spell as Mayor for a year in 1982/3). In 1995, David was also returned again as a Councillor in Calderdale MBC, and remained there until 2003.
David contested the Sowerby parliamentary seat for the Liberal Party in 1970 and the February and October General Elections of 1974 and in 1979. He contested the Calder Valley seat in both 1983 and 1987 for the Liberal Alliance. He stood for the Liberal Democrats in Pudsey in 1992.
In 2000 he entered the House of Lords as a life peer - Baron Shutt of Greetland in the County of West Yorkshire. He was Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson in the Lords until 2002.