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 53)
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 Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Jesus College, Oxford; while at Oxford he was Junior Common Room President.[1] He is an enthusiastic RNLI[citation needed] supporter, 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. 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 chosen 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 Card Regulation (child pornography) Bill 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. Davies also serves on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee which has opposed reducing the number of MPs from Wales by a quarter. He is active in the Chamber speaking out against Government moves to increase student fees and to provide anonymity for those accused of rape.

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.[11] Since returning in 2010 he has only voted against the Labour Whip once against having General Elections and the Welsh Assembly Election on the same date.

Expenses[edit]

For the year 2004–05, Davies' MP costs, including four staff and fully equipped offices in Parliament and his constituency, were £176,026, which was the highest for that year.[11] Davies said "this shows I was one of the most hard-working MPs in Britain."[12] This included the overnight cost allowance to stay in Westminster for late votes and early meetings as the commute from East Croydon to London Victoria by National Rail is twenty minutes and with 15 minutes walk either end.[13] Davies also claimed £38,750 in postage expenses,[14] as some 20,000 constituents contacted him. Mr Davies' correspondence included his annual report produced as a calendar.[15] He repaid £156 used to post these calendars to constituents who contacted him because he mistakenly used prepaid envelopes instead of stamps. [16] The wide variation between individual MPs postage fuelled suspicion that MPs who sent more correspondence were more likely to win re-election.[17] Davies explained his larger than usual postage costs on having one of the largest and busiest constituencies containing the Lunar House Home Office Immigration Department. "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. Davies said £2,285 was spent on the kitchen in April 2004 two years before the election deadline and £1,500 was spent on the living room, also in a state of disrepair."[16] and he was expecting to be returned as an MP in 2005 having increased the Labour vote to 47.2% in 2001 with the Conservatives down to 38.2%. The Daily Telegraph claimed that Davies was reimbursed for taxi fares and travel costs which were not at that time permitted under the second home allowance.[16]

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.[18] The contest generated a record 80% member participation and a clear result, and he is strongly endorsed by Alan Williams,[18] and by Assembly Minister Andrew Davies.[19] On 6 May 2010, Geraint Davies was elected MP for Swansea West with 12,335 votes and a majority of 504.[20]

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. ^ a b "Mr Geraint Davies - Former Labour MP for Croydon Central". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "MPs' expenses claims exceed £80m". BBC News. 27 October 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2005. 
  13. ^ MPs' expenses at-a-glance Mail Online, 28 October 2005
  14. ^ Croydon Guardian[dead link]
  15. ^ Croydon Guardian[dead link]
  16. ^ a b c MPs' expenses: Geraint Davies spent £4,000 on renovation just before general election Daily Telegraph, 3 June 2009
  17. ^ How MPs claimed a record £81m expenses The Guardian, 28 October 2005
  18. ^ a b Evans, Jason (16 July 2007). "Former MP is Labour choice". Swansea Evening Post. 
  19. ^ "Geraint Davies: Swansea West". LabourHome. 17 July 2007. [dead link]
  20. ^ 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