Geraint Davies (Labour politician)

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Geraint Davies MP
Member of Parliament
for Swansea West
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Alan Williams
Majority 504 (1.4%)
Member of Parliament
for Croydon Central
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Paul Beresford
Succeeded by Andrew Pelling
Personal details
Born (1960-05-03) 3 May 1960 (age 54)
Chester, Cheshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Dr. Vanessa Fry
Alma mater Jesus College, Oxford
Website www.geraintdavies.org

Geraint Richard Davies (born 3 May 1960) is a British politician who is the Labour Co-operative Member of Parliament (MP) for Swansea West. Previously, Davies was the Labour Party MP for Croydon Central from 1997 to 2005. He had also served as Leader of Croydon Borough Council.

Personal life[edit]

Davies' family comes from west Wales; his civil servant father is from Aberystwyth and his mother's family are from Swansea. He was brought up in Cardiff where he attended Llanishen High School, before studying Mathematics then Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Jesus College, Oxford; while at Oxford he was Junior Common Room President.[1] He married Dr. Vanessa Fry in September 1991 and they now live in Swansea.

Professional background[edit]

Davies joined Unilever as a Group Product Manager in 1982, and later Colgate-Palmolive Ltd. as Marketing Manager before starting his own companies including Pure Crete Ltd. and Equity Creative Ltd. He became active in the Labour Party, being Assistant Secretary for Croydon North East Labour Party and Chair of Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party, and was a member of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs,[2] and later the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union.[3] before joining the GMB in 1985. He has been a member of the Co-operative Party since 1984.

Political career[edit]

Municipal life[edit]

Davies was elected to Croydon Borough Council in 1986 for New Addington ward, which he retained at the 1990 and 1994. Davies became Director of Pure Crete Ltd, described as a 'Green tour operator',[3] in 1989.[1]

When Labour won control of Croydon Borough Council in the 1994 election, Davies became Chairman of the Housing Committee, and in 1996 was elected as Leader of the Council. He was chair of the London Boroughs Association Housing Committee from 1996 to 1997.[1]

Election to Parliament[edit]

At the 1987 general election, at the age of 27 Davies contested the Croydon South constituency, where he increased the Labour vote by a third and came third with less than 10% of the votes.[4] In 1992, he stood in another Conservative safe seat Croydon Central constituency, where he took second place, reducing a large Conservative Party majority.[5] At the 1997 general election, aged 36, he overturned the Conservative majority of 14,661 and was elected as Croydon Central's MP a with Labour majority of 3,897.[6] Davies was re-elected in 2001 with 47.2% of the vote and a majority increased to 3,984. At the 2005 election his vote fell by 1,700 and the Conservative candidate Andrew Pelling gained 2,300 to take the seat with a majority of 75 votes.[7] Davies was selected for the Labour seat of Swansea West following the announcement of the retirement of the constituency's MP of 45 years, Alan Williams. In the General Election of May 2010 the Labour vote fell by 1500 and the Liberal Democrats vote increased by 2000 reducing the Labour majority to 505.

In Parliament[edit]

In his first term in Parliament, Davies was appointed Chair of the Environment Transport & Regions Departmental Committee and served on the Public Accounts Committee.

Re-elected in 2001, Davies was appointed NSPCC Parliamentary Ambassador in 2003 (-2005) following his proposed Regulation of Childcare Providers Bill in April 2003 which meant childminders were no longer permitted to smack children and parents had the right to see records of complaints about prospective childminders in respect of child safety. These provisions were subsequently adopted by Government. He then proposed the Physical Punishment of Children (Prohibition) Bill in July 2003 which made striking children across the head, with implimeents or shaking them illegal. He sought to address children's issues with a Healthy Children Manifesto (June 2004) to ban junk food advertising to children and regulate food labeling (adopted by Government 11/06) and a School Meals and Nutrition Bill in January 2005 that sought to include nutrition in OFSTED and to ban unhealthy vending (provisions adopted 3/05 & 10/05). He also sponsored the Regulation of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Bill (May 2004) to impose precautionary bans on chemicals with evidence of being dangerous. This bill was incorporated in the EU REACH directive 09/06 and supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature UK. He was also involved in a high profile campaign for the release of British detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay.[8][9] Feroz Abbasi and Moazzam Begg were finally released on 25 January 2005.[10]

On his re-election for Swansea West in 2010 Davies became the first newly elected MP to present a private bill - The Credit Regulation (Child Pornography) Bill [11] in July 2010 that received national media coverage and cross party support including an Early Day Motion signed by 203 MPs. The Bill penalises credit and debit card companies for facilitating the downloading of child abuse images and requires that pre-paid credit cards below £100 are only issued when the identity of those buying them is recorded in order trace their source if used for illegal downloading or underaged purchases of weapons or alcohol.

His Multinational Motor Manufacturing Companies (Duty of Care to Former Employees) Bill 2012-13 [12] was designed to ensure that former Ford employees, including those from Swansea, who were transferred to an arms-length company called Visteon that Ford created, were compensated for the under-funding of their pension fund. This helped to secure the £29 million pay out in 2014 by Ford to former employees after a five year campaign supported by an all-party group of MPs for which Davies was Labour lead.

Davies' Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill 2013-14 [13] was designed to ensure that patients were treated by qualified practitioners using evidence based treatment and explicitly seeks to ban so-called gay to straight conversion therapy. The Bill has received national TV, radio and broadsheet coverage and is expected to feature in Labour's manifesto.

Davies' Sugar in Food and Drinks (Targets, Labelling and Advertising) Bill 2014-15[14] aims to help curb the obesity and diabetes epidemics by requiring food labeling to express added sugar content in teaspoonfuls so that consumers - in the knowledge that the recommended intake for sugar is six teaspoonfuls for women and nine for men - are empowered to choose healthier lower sugar products and manufacturers in turn compete by bidding down,not up, sugar content. The Bill also restricts high sugar products as presenting themselves as low fat in advertising on the grounds that these products are not healthy and make people fat.

Following publicity of Davies' Bill (September 10 2014) to criminalise the distribution of sexually explicit images without consent on the internet - known as revenge porn - [15] and the fact that only nine out of forty three police forces recorded revenge porn as as offence, the Justice Secretary has announced that revenge porn will be criminalised.

Geraint Davies' Bill to prohibit the advertising of electronic cigarettes and to prohibit their sale to children (October 2014) aims to stop transnational tobacco companies - who are currently buying ownership of the electronic cigarette market - re-glamorising smoking through e cigarette advertising and to stop them targeting under 18 year olds to become new smokers. The Bill explicitly welcomes the mass transfer of consumers from traditional to electronic smoking.

Davies' latest Bill - The International Trade Agreement Scrutiny Bill - would require scrutiny of, and enable amendments to, international trade agreements, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Programme (the proposed EU-US Free trade deal) and the Investor State Dispute Settlements (which threatens to give multi-national companies the power to sue governments for laws they pass which protect consumers or workers and thereby affect future profit streams), by the European and UK Parliaments. Geraint Davies asked the Prime Minister to support his Bill in the House of Commons on the day it was presented on 27 October 2014 and David Cameron responded "there's an awful lot of scare stories going round and this greater scrutiny can lay some of those to rest".

Geraint Davies represents Wales on the Council of Europe and has presented motions in Strasbourg calling for regulation of psychotherapists, scrutiny of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and clearer sugar content in processed foods labeling by expressing it in spoonfuls. He has also spoken out on child obesity, female genital mutilation and race discrimination in the police.

Davies serves on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and the European Scrutiny Committee. He is active in the Chamber in particular in treasury and economic debates, but on a range of issues from student fees, to rape victims to arguing for a fairer deal for Wales and Swansea.

Geraint Davies is the only one of the five MPs representing Swansea and Neath Port Talbot who is standing for re-election in 2015.

Voting record[edit]

In the House of Commons, Davies was a loyal Labour backbencher, hardly ever voting with the opposition against the Labour government and whip. He supported Labour in most of the major parliamentary rebellions, including the Iraq war but opposed the Government in voting for an all elected second chamber during the Reform of the House of Lords.[16] Since returning in 2010 he has only voted against the Labour Whip twice against having General Elections and the Welsh Assembly Election on the same date and against a free trade deal with Columbia because of the widespread killing and persecution of trade unionists.

Expenses[edit]

Since his re-election in 2010 for Swansea West Davies’ MP’s costs have been in the lower quartile of MPs expenses and relatively lower than for his previous constituency Croydon Central which has a third bigger population and the Home Office's UK Immigration Centre in it. For the year 2004–05, Davies' MP costs, including four staff and two fully equipped offices in Parliament and his constituency, were £176,026, which was the highest for that year.[16] Davies said "this shows I was one of the most hard-working MPs in Britain."[17] This included the overnight cost allowance to stay in Westminster for late votes and early meetings and £38,750 in postage expenses,[18] as some 20,000 constituents contacted him. Mr.Davies repaid £156 used to post his annual report calendars to constituents who contacted him because he used prepaid envelopes instead of stamps [19] amidst suspicion that MPs who sent more correspondence were more likely to win re-election.[20] The postage costs were linked to the Croydon Central constituency being virtually the biggest and, due to the Lunar House Home Office Immigration Department, arguably the busiest in the UK. "Somebody has got to do the most work. I am proud it was me," he said. According to the Daily Telegraph Davies spent £4,000 renovating his designated second home before losing his seat in 2005 - £2,285 on the kitchen two years before the election deadline and £1,500 on the living room [19] expecting to be returned as an MP in 2005 having increased the Labour vote to 47.2% versus the Conservatives at 38.2%. It also claimed he was reimbursed for late night taxi fares which were not then permitted.[19]

Swansea West[edit]

Davies serves as a school governor at Dylan Thomas Comprehensive School, Swansea. In July 2007, he was selected to succeed Alan Williams MP, the Father of the House, as Labour's candidate for the Swansea West constituency at the 2010 general election.[21] The contest generated a record 80% member participation and a clear result, and he is strongly endorsed by Alan Williams,[21] and by Assembly Minister Andrew Davies.[22] On 6 May 2010, Geraint Davies was elected MP for Swansea West with 12,335 votes and a majority of 504.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Dod's Guide to the General Election, June 2001", Vacher Dod Publishing, 2001, p. 92
  2. ^ "The Times Guide to the House of Commons 1987" (Times Books, 1987), p. 88
  3. ^ a b "The Times Guide to the House of Commons 1992" (Times Books, 1992), p. 87
  4. ^ "United Kingdom general election results June 1987". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "United Kingdom general election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  6. ^ "Croydon Central". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "United Kingdom general election results May 2005". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  8. ^ Bring my son home BBC News, 20 February 2004
  9. ^ Five Guantanamo Britons to return to UK The Guardian, 19 February 2004
  10. ^ UK police release Guantanamo four BBC News, 27 January 2005
  11. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/creditregulationchildpornography.html
  12. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/multinationalmotormanufacturingcompaniesdutyofcaretoformeremployees.html
  13. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/counsellorsandpsychotherapistsregulation.html
  14. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/sugarinfoodanddrinkstargetslabellingandadvertising.html
  15. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/mobilephonesandotherdevicescapableofconnectiontotheinternetdistributionofsexuallyexplicitimagesandmanufacturersantipornographydefaultsetting.html
  16. ^ a b "Mr Geraint Davies - Former Labour MP for Croydon Central". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  17. ^ "MPs' expenses claims exceed £80m". BBC News. 27 October 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2005. 
  18. ^ Croydon Guardian[dead link]
  19. ^ a b c MPs' expenses: Geraint Davies spent £4,000 on renovation just before general election Daily Telegraph, 3 June 2009
  20. ^ How MPs claimed a record £81m expenses The Guardian, 28 October 2005
  21. ^ a b Evans, Jason (16 July 2007). "Former MP is Labour choice". Swansea Evening Post. 
  22. ^ "Geraint Davies: Swansea West". LabourHome. 17 July 2007. [dead link]
  23. ^ General Election 2010 - Swansea West BBC News

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Beresford
Member of Parliament for Croydon Central
19972005
Succeeded by
Andrew Pelling
Preceded by
Alan Williams
Member of Parliament for Swansea West
2010–present
Incumbent