Peter Davies (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peter Davies
Mayor of Doncaster
In office
5 June 2009 – 2 May 2013
Preceded by Martin Winter
Succeeded by Ros Jones
Personal details
Born 1948
Woodlands
Nationality British
Political party Independent (since 2013)
English Democrats (2004 - 2013)
ReformUK (1998 - 2004)
UKIP (1993 - 1998)
Conservative (1973 - 1993)
Labour (Until 1973)
Website www.doncaster.gov.uk

Peter Davies (born 1948) is a British politician who was the Mayor of Doncaster from 2009 to 2013.[1] He was initially elected for the English Democrats, but announced his resignation from the party on 5 February 2013 citing "a big influx of new members joining from the British National Party".[2] He subsequently lost narrowly the 2013 election to Labour's Ros Jones.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Woodlands on the outskirts of Doncaster in 1948, Davies went to school in Thorne, then worked at Danum School as a teacher. He is married. He is also the Chairman of Sykehouse Cricket Club and a member of the Campaign for Real Education and the Campaign Against Political Correctness.[3] Davies is the father of Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley.[4]

Political career[edit]

Davies was a member of the Labour Party until 1973 when he joined the Conservatives. He remained in the Conservative Party until Prime Minister John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1993.[5]

United Kingdom Independence Party[edit]

Davies then joined the strongly eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). He contested Yorkshire South at the European Parliament election in 1994, taking 2.6% of the votes cast. Three years later, he contested Doncaster Central at the 1997 general election, getting 462 votes. The following year, in 1998, a by-election arose in the Yorkshire South European constituency and Davies stood again, against the wishes of the then UKIP party leader Michael Holmes but with the support of Nigel Farage and John Whittaker, who put up his deposit. Davies came last in the poll, but saved his deposit, increasing his share of the vote to 11.6%.[6]

English Democrats[edit]

Davies left UKIP and joined a UKIP splinter group UK Reform. UK Reform then merged with the English Democrats which meant that Peter Davies joined the English Democrats by default, he was shortly afterwards given the title Chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the English Democrats. He stood in Doncaster's Finningley ward in the 2008 local elections, achieving second place with 1,033 votes, over 20% of the vote[7] and stood in both the European elections and the Doncaster mayoral election in June 2009.[1] He was placed fourth on English Democrats' party list for Yorkshire and the Humber, a list that achieved 2.6% of the vote. In the mayoral race, Davies took second place in the first round of voting, but won by around 400 votes once second preferences had been taken into account.[1]

Mayor of Doncaster[edit]

Davies' mayoral campaign had called for harsher punishments for "young thugs", withdrawal from the European Union, withdrawal of council translation services, a reduction in the number of Doncaster councillors, and for local schools to opt out of local authority control.[8] Once elected, Davies was interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield and Look North where the interviewers questioned the legality and achievability of his manifesto promises.[9]

One of Davies' first decisions was to announce a cut in his annual salary from £73,000 to £30,000.[10] He is an opponent of political correctness who pledged to stop funding the town's gay pride event, although organisers maintained that the event brought business to Doncaster.[11] Later, he confirmed the event for 2009 would be funded as arranged before his election.[12] He has also pledged to end and reverse town twinning as a waste of money, joking that he would use his two words of German to tell a visiting delegation Auf Wiedersehen (goodbye).[5] He also insists he is "not conned by global warming"[5] and has described climate change as "a scam"[13]

Vote of no confidence[edit]

On 22 February 2010, Davies' proposals for a three per cent council tax cut were opposed and a vote of no confidence against him was carried. Doncaster Council criticised the leadership of Davies and his cabinet, and described his proposed 2010-11 budget as "irresponsible".[14] Davies declined to resign.[15]

On 2 June 2010, the government appointed a new chief executive and three commissioners to lead the council. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the measures were needed to turn the council around "after 15 years of poor governance and dysfunctional politics".[16]

In October 2010, Davies was disciplined by the council for breaching the code of conduct by failing to declare his membership of the Campaign Against Political Correctness.[17]

In February 2013 it was reported that Davies had left the English Democrats and would run as an independent in the 2013 Doncaster mayoral elections.[18] In May, Davies lost to the Labour candidate, Ros Jones.[19]

Incidents and statements[edit]

Davies attracted widespread media attention during his period in office, with a series of contentious announcements.

"Praise" for the Taliban[edit]

Speaking in September 2009, Davies' conservative approach to family values was unequivocal as he spoke of his admiration for the “ordered way of life under the Taliban.”

"The one thing to be said about the Taliban is that they do have an ordered society of some sort and that they don't have hundreds of cases of children under threat of abuse from violent parents, as we have in Doncaster."

—Peter Davies, September 2009

Davies made it clear it was the moral code he was an admirer of while detesting the Taliban themselves, adding, "The point I was making was that even a regime as hideous as the Taliban at least appear to have sort of decent sort of family affairs. In fact probably...they have an ordered society." He continued: "We in this country have created mayhem through lax social policies of disregard for marriage and the family and we have created mayhem in society."[20]

Child protection services in Doncaster[edit]

After an incident in which two young boys living in Council care were given indeterminate sentences for the torture of two other children, an Audit Commission report stated that: “Those leading the council - the mayor and cabinet, some councillors and some officers - do not collectively have the capacity or capability to make the necessary improvements in governance.” Davies responded that he thought it “a very black report without any shade of colour at all and painted the town as a dreadful hole that no one would ever want to come to or live in and that is not Doncaster”, adding, "The town has been languishing in the doldrums under Labour rule and it's time that it made use of its huge advantages." [21]

Library closures[edit]

Davies has been criticised by Doncaster residents after admitting that he had never borrowed a book from a public library and walking out of a public meeting convened to discuss the proposed closure of a local library - a branch that Mr Davies admitted to having never seen.[22]

Elections contested[edit]

Election Constituency Party Votes Percentage of votes Source(s)
1994 European election Yorkshire South UKIP 3,948 2.6 [23]
1996 Parliamentary by-election Hemsworth UKIP 455 2.1
1997 general election Doncaster Central UKIP 462 1.1
1998 European by-election Yorkshire South UKIP 13,830 11.6 [23]
2006 Doncaster Council local election Finningley Ward ED 973 21.2 [24]
2007 Doncaster Council local election Finningley Ward ED 1,111 23.8 [25]
2008 Doncaster Council local election Finningley Ward ED 1,003 21.6 [26]
2009 European election Yorkshire and the Humber ED 31,287 2.6 [27]
2009 Mayor of Doncaster election Doncaster ED 24,725 (both first and second preference votes) 22.6 (of first preference votes) 51.7 (of second preference votes) [28]
2013 Mayor of Doncaster election Doncaster Independent 25,344 (both first and second preference votes) 34.9 (of first preference votes) 49.4 (of second preference votes) [29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "'New broom' pledges to sweep political halls of Doncaster clean", Yorkshire Post, 5 June 2009
  2. ^ BBC News "Doncaster mayor quits English Democrats 'because of BNP'", 5 February 2013
  3. ^ "PROFILE: Peter Davies", Doncaster Free Press, 28 May 2009
  4. ^ Smithard, Tom. "Shock message for Government as maverick Mayor takes control". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  5. ^ a b c Hardman, Robert (2009-08-31). "Why can't Dave and Gordon learn a few lessons from Britain's most gloriously un-PC supermayor". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Mark Daniel, Cranks and Gadflies (2005), p.53
  7. ^ [1] doncaster.gov.uk, accessed 10th June 2009
  8. ^ Doncaster Mayoral Elections, Doncaster Borough Council
  9. ^ "Toby Foster meets Mayor Peter Davies". BBC. Retrieved 9 Jun 2009. 
  10. ^ Social workers back in hospital BBC News, 9 June 2009
  11. ^ "Mayor vows to cut Gay Pride funds". BBC News. 6 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "New mayor makes Gay Pride U-turn". BBC News. 12 June 2009. 
  13. ^ Martin Slack (9 March 2010). "Town backing out of 'eco-vision' plan under green-sceptic mayor". Yorkshire Post. 
  14. ^ Martin Slack (23 February 2010). "Yorkshire Mayor suffers double vote blow". Yorkshire Post. 
  15. ^ "Troubled history of Doncaster Council". BBC News Online. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  16. ^ "Government appoints new Doncaster Council chief". BBC News Online. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  17. ^ Kessen, Dabid (2010-10-08). "Mayor's code of conduct breach". The Star. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  18. ^ "Doncaster mayor quits English Democrats 'because of BNP'". BBC News Online. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  19. ^ "Labour's Ros Jones wins Doncaster mayoral election", BBC News, 3 May 2013
  20. ^ Britain could learn from Taliban family values says Doncaster's mayor
  21. ^ "Report portraying Doncaster a 'hole' unfair says mayor". BBC News. 2010-05-27. 
  22. ^ Mayor storms out of public debate on Doncaster's libraries
  23. ^ a b "UK European Parliamentary Election Results 1979-99: England". Election.demon.co.uk. 1999-01-31. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  24. ^ "Local Elections 2006 | Doncaster Council". Doncaster.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  25. ^ "Local Elections 2007 | Doncaster Council". Doncaster.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  26. ^ "Local Elections 2008 | Doncaster Council". Doncaster.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  27. ^ "UK results: Yorkshire and the Humber". BBC News. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  28. ^ "Mayoral Election 2009 Results | Doncaster Council". Doncaster.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  29. ^ "Vote 2013 Results for Doncaster". BBC News Online. 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Martin Winter
Mayor of Doncaster
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Ros Jones