S. O. Davies

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Stephen Owen Davies (9 November 1886 – 25 February 1972) was a Welsh politician, and a member of the House of Commons from 1934 to his death.


Born in Abercwmboi, he began work as a coal miner at the age of 12, combining mining work with study for a degree. During World War I he was an active trade unionist at Tumble in the Gwendraeth Valley. Davies was educated at the University of Wales and the University of London. He was active as a trade unionist, and became vice-president of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain in 1933. He was a councillor on Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council and mayor in 1945-46.

In 1934 he was elected as a Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the Merthyr constituency, which was renamed Merthyr Tydfil in 1950.

Davies was often out of step with the party line. Following the Aberfan disaster, he was a vocal critic of the way in which the government compensated the families of those killed.

In the run-up the 1970 general election his Constituency Labour Party felt that as he was now in his 80s he ought to stand down (it was rumoured he was nearer to 90 years of age).[1] They de-selected him in favour of a younger man. There may also have been friction caused by a dispute at the local Hoover factory. He fought the election as an independent Labour candidate, and won by 7,400 votes.[1] In Parliament he maintained discreet links with the Parliamentary Labour Party and was sent a copy of the Labour whip, though he was nominally an independent.[1] However he died in 1972 and the Labour Party won the subsequent by-election, although there was a significant swing to Plaid Cymru.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c BBC article "Rebel history lesson for new MP". BBC News. 9 May 2005. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Collingham Wallhead
Member of Parliament for Merthyr
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
Succeeded by
Ted Rowlands
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Manny Shinwell
Oldest sitting member
(not Father of the House)

1970 - 1972
Succeeded by
John Rankin
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Joseph Jones
Vice-President of the National Union of Mineworkers
Succeeded by
Will Lawther