Affiliated with the United Kingdom's Liberal Democrat Party, he represented the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency in the British Parliament from 1997 until 2010.
After graduating from Wadham College, Oxford, with a degree in physiology, he earned a medical degree and worked at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.
He served as Vice President of both the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and the British Humanist Association.
Born in Sheffield, England, to Jewish, South African-born parents, he grew up in Liverpool. After his marriage ended in 1997, he was romantically involved with a woman named Liz O'Hara; tragically, she passed away from brain cancer in 2003.
He and his contemporary, Stephen Lloyd, were both Liberal Democrats and Members of Parliament.