Ian Davidson (British politician)

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For other people named Ian Davidson, see Ian Davidson (disambiguation).
Ian Davidson
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow South West
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Constituency created
Majority 14,671 (46.2%)
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Pollok
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Jimmy Dunnachie
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Govan
In office
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Jim Sillars
Succeeded by Mohammad Sarwar
Personal details
Born (1950-09-08) 8 September 1950 (age 64)
Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Morag Mackinnon[1]

Ian Graham Davidson (born 8 September 1950) is a Scottish Labour Co-operative politician, who has been a Member of Parliament for successive Glasgow seats since 1992; since 2005 he has represented Glasgow South West. Davidson previously worked as a Community Service Manager and for Janey Buchan when she was a Member of the European Parliament.

Davidson is currently the Chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.[2]

Political career[edit]

He has been an MP since 1992, originally for the seat of Glasgow Govan and, following boundary changes, for Glasgow Pollok from 1997 to 2005. After further major boundary changes across Scotland, Davidson stood in the 2005 general election for the new constituency of Glasgow South West, where he won the second biggest swing to Labour in Scotland. He is a member of the Public Accounts Select Committee and has lobbied to support the Scottish shipbuilding industry. He is also secretary of the influential Trade Union Group of Labour MPs.

In 2002 he criticised Prince Michael of Kent for 'squatting' in Kensington Palace. More recently he has criticised the Prince of Wales over his personal finances. He was the chair of Labour Against the Euro before it ceased campaigning following the 2003 decision by Gordon Brown that the five economic tests for Britain to join the euro had not been met.

During the debate in the House of Commons over the decision whether to have a referendum over the EU Treaty of Lisbon (5 March 2008), Davidson drew jeers from his Labour colleagues for branding New Labour supporters "Maoists and Trotskyists". Davidson was putting forward the case for disobeying the party line and voting for a referendum.

He is now Chair of the Centre for a Social Europe,[3] a pro-EU but mildly eurosceptic left-of-centre think tank. He has been a member of the Scotland Office Select Committee since the 2005 General Election.

From 1973 to 1974, Davidson was Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students.[4]

He is also a supporter of Republic, a campaign to replace the British Monarchy with an elected head of state.[5]


In 2007 he once brought howls of laughter from Labour and Tory MPs when shouting "who cares" when the Scottish National Party (SNP) politician Angus Robertson asked a question about Scotland in the Commons chamber.

In June 2011, Davidson accused the Scottish National Party of "narrow neo-fascism". The choice of language resulted in the Labour Party distancing itself from Mr Davidson's comments, saying the use of the word "neo-fascist" was unacceptable, even in the heat of debate,[6] and prompted many in the SNP - the Governing party in Scotland - to call on him to resign as chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.[7]

On 25 October 2011 it emerged that Clerks appointed to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee had raised concerns with the Clerk of Committees, the most senior official responsible for House of Commons Select Committees, alleging that Ian Davidson had threatened to inflict "a doing" upon fellow committee member Eilidh Whiteford, in the event that details of the committee's discussions during a private session were leaked to the media. Following the allegations Dr Whiteford withdrew from the committee and a formal complaint was made by the SNP Parliamentary Leader, Angus Robertson, to the Speaker of the House.[8]

At the next session of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee on 26 October, Davidson made a public apology "for any offense that might have been caused" by his remarks; simultaneously denying that the remarks had been in any way threatening.[9]

However Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative committee members all stated that no threats were made.[10][11][12][13] After an investigation the Labour Party stated that it amounted to a "smear campaign" against Davidson due to the forthcoming investigations chaired by Davidson into the SNP's referendum proposal.[14]

A member of the SNP politician Joan McAlpine's staff, Gail Lythgoe, was found to have emailed a Women's equality group, supporting Whiteford and alleging that Davidson has a history of bullying Women and called on them to demonstrate against him whilst asking them not to reveal SNP involvement in its instigation.[15][16] The email was later leaked and Lythgoe publicly apologised for making unsubstantiated allegations, with the Labour Party alleging that this was a result of an SNP "dirty tricks campaign" against Davidson and called for an investigation.[15]

In September 2013, Davidson caused anger after he compared the independence referendum in Scotland to a war. He made claims that victory was a certainty for the No Campaign, which supports British Unionism, and suggested "wounded" independence supporters should be bayonetted after losing. The remark bore reference to the killing of wounded Scottish Jacobite supporters after the Battle of Culloden. Mr Davidson, a strong anti-independence campaigner, refused to apologise for the comment.[17] A keen shooting enthusiast, the Labour MP also once commented that "Come the revolution, riflemen will be required."


During the 2009-10 Expenses Scandal, it emerged that Davidson claimed £87,699 in the four years to 2007; only £30 below the maximum permitted. He has since admitted that he wished he had a larger mortgage on his London flat to allow him to claim more in allowances and that new expenses rules, brought in after the expenses scandal, would leave him out of pocket. He also used £5,500 of public cash to pay a friend to carry out some renovating work at his flat – he later took the same friend shooting at an annual Commons v Lords competition.[18]


  1. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/110124/part2.htm
  2. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/labour-mp-condemns-rigged-purge-1.1127368
  3. ^ "Social-europe.org.uk". Social-europe.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  4. ^ "UK political and parliamentary news, interviews, analysis, comment, blogs and podcasts". ePolitix.com. 1950-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  5. ^ "Our Supporters". Republic. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  6. ^ "Storm over MP Ian Davidson's SNP 'neo-facist' remark". bbc.co.uk. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  7. ^ D'Arcy, Mark (23 June 2011). "Can Ian Davidson stay as chair after neo fascist jibe?". BBC News. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "SNP MP alleges Ian Davidson made 'doing' remark". bbc.co.uk. 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  9. ^ "Labour MP Ian Davidson says sorry to select committee". bbc.co.uk. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  10. ^ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics-news/2011/10/27/alex-salmond-accused-of-smear-campaign-against-labour-mp-ian-davidson-over-bullying-claims-86908-23517958/
  11. ^ "Labour MP Ian Davidson says sorry to select committee". BBC News. 2011-10-26. 
  12. ^ http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/uk/eilidh_whiteford_ratchets_up_ian_davidson_row_1_1938189
  13. ^ Cochrane, Alan (2011-11-01). "Bullying is a big problem. It's time the Nats stopped". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  14. ^ Johnson, Simon (2011-10-26). "SNP dirty tricks row over Ian Davidson 'getting a doing' remark to female MP". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  15. ^ a b http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/first-minister-s-aide-linked-to-dirty-tricks-allegations-1.1132328?55374
  16. ^ "Ian Davidson row email 'went too far'". BBC News. 2011-11-01. 
  17. ^ "Outrage at Labour MP's 'Bayonet the wounded' referendum remark". NewsnetScotland. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Lydall, Ross (2009-05-21). "'Class warrior' MP says rules will leave him out of pocket - Scotsman.com News". Edinburgh: News.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jim Sillars
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Govan
Succeeded by
Mohammad Sarwar
Preceded by
Jimmy Dunnachie
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Pollok
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow South West