David Davies (Welsh politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

David Davies

Official portrait of David T. C. Davies crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee
Assumed office
8 June 2010
Preceded byDr Hywel Francis
Member of Parliament
for Monmouth
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byHuw Edwards
Majority8,206 (16.5%)
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Monmouth
In office
6 May 1999 – 3 May 2007
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byNick Ramsay
Personal details
Born (1970-07-27) 27 July 1970 (age 48)
Newham, London, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
Aliz Harnisfoger (m. 2003)
Children3
Websitewww.david-davies.org.uk

David Thomas Charles Davies (born 27 July 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Monmouth in South Wales. A vocal critic of the European Union, he supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum, and he has since been supportive of pro-Brexit pressure group Leave Means Leave.[1]

Background[edit]

Davies was born in London and educated at Bassaleg School, Bassaleg, a suburb of Newport. He is the eldest child of Peter and Kathleen Davies. After leaving school in 1988 he worked for the British Steel Corporation and served with the Territorial Army. He worked for his family in their shipping company, Burrow Heath Ltd, before he entered politics.[2] He was also a Special Constable with the British Transport Police for 9 years.

He married Aliz Harnisfoger, who is Hungarian, in October 2003 in Monmouth, and they have three children. A keen sportsman, Davies has fought in several charity boxing matches as "The Tory Tornado" and is a former President of the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association.[3]

Political career[edit]

He unsuccessfully contested the safe Labour seat of Bridgend at the 1997 general election, finishing in second place some 15,248 votes behind the sitting Labour MP Win Griffiths. As an opponent of the Welsh assembly who helped to set up the 'No' campaign in the devolution referendum,[4] Davies gained a higher profile and was selected as Conservative candidate for Monmouth. At the inaugural 1999 Welsh Assembly Election he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales.[2][5]

Davies speaks fluent Welsh after learning the language from scratch when he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales. He was awarded the accolade of Welsh Speaker of the Year and was the first AM to address the Welsh Language Society, Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg, in Welsh.[6]

He was elected at the 2005 general election as member of the House of Commons for Monmouth, the seat he held in the Welsh Assembly. He defeated the sitting Labour MP Huw Edwards by 4,527 votes, and remains the MP for the constituency. On 18 May 2005 he made his maiden speech giving a history of his constituency from Geoffrey of Monmouth onwards.[7] In Parliament he joined the Welsh Affairs Select Committee on his election. After the 2015 general election, he was returned unopposed the chairmanship of the Committee.[8]

In 2008, Davies criticised the National Black Police Association's race-based membership policy for not allowing white people interested in fighting racism to become full members.[9] The text of the speech on his website states that Keith Vaz asked him to attend the meeting after Vaz was unable to fulfil the engagement himself.[10]

Expenses[edit]

Davies was criticised by The Daily Telegraph, for claiming £2,000 and paying it to a family business.[11] Davies defended his actions in an interview.[12] Davies later said he had done nothing wrong,[13] and told BBC Wales that the work was done at short notice and at cost value, and neither he nor any of his family made any profit from the work. He said he was now having to use a specialist company in London for the production of such material, one that was used by many other MPs, and the real cost was significantly higher.[11]

In May 2009, after revelations about expenses were published by The Daily Telegraph in relation to other politicians, Davies became the first member of the Commons voluntarily to put all his expense claims in public for anybody to examine. They were scrutinised by an independent panel that included a journalist, and a former Labour candidate among others, and Davies emerged unscathed from his decision to release all his expenses claims from the House of Commons.[14] Davies continues to employ his wife as a part time Office Manager.[citation needed]

Welsh Affairs Committee[edit]

In June 2010, Davies was appointed Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee. He is a former member of the Home Affairs Select Committee and is an advocate of tough measures to deal with criminality. Davies is also Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary China Group and a member of the All-Party Parliamentary British-German Group. In January 2012, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced his appointment as a representative of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.[6]

Nigel Evans trial[edit]

During the trial of fellow Welsh MP Nigel Evans, who was also Davies' best man at his 2003 wedding, Davies gave evidence of his character, stating that Evans liked a drink and became jovial when intoxicated, unlike some people who have a dark side. Davies is quoted as saying "He’s been a good friend of mine for a lot of years. I am stunned by these allegations and find them impossible to believe."[15] Evans was acquitted.[16]

Political views[edit]

Same sex marriage[edit]

Davies opposed his Government's plans to introduce same-sex marriage, describing them as "barking mad" due to the possibility that they may alienate the Conservative party's traditional supporters; expanding on these views in a television interview he also expressed the opinion that "most parents would prefer their children not to be gay".[17] Davies said he was not bigoted, offering the unusual defence that he had once fought an amateur boxing match against the "Pink Pounder", an openly gay boxer.[18]

On 5 February 2013, Davies voted against in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on marriage equality in Britain.[19]

Brexit[edit]

Davies has said "I support the sentiments of Better Off Out" which campaigns for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.[20] In May 2019, while attempting a televsion interview on College Green, Davies was confronted by a pro-Brexit activist, clearly unaware of his identity, who accused him of being a 'remoaner', a 'liar', a 'snowflake' and not a Brexiteer. Davies admitted that, although he had voted to leave in the referendum, he had voted for Theresa May's failed Brexit withdrawal agreement. He accused the activist of having "a big mouth and access to a keyboard" and attempted to record the incident on the body camera that was strapped around his torso.[21]

Climate change[edit]

Davies is sceptical of the theory of man-made global warming and in 2013 questioned the evidence in Parliament.[22]

Race relations[edit]

In January 2010 he was criticised for referring to some communities as having imported "barbaric views on women".[23] Commenting on a rape case, Davies said that upbringing could be a major factor although he saw it as "not an Islamic issue... let me be quite clear, and it's not a racial issue".[23]

During a phone-in during the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, Davies told a member of the public that she should join the BNP after she suggested it should be a requirement for Welsh civil and public servants to understand Welsh.[24] On his web page, he states his opinion 'that people who come to this country should learn English and be expected to work and to fit in with our rules, culture and traditions'.[25]

Charity sector[edit]

Davies is a critic of a few national charities – Save the Children, RSPCA and NSPCC – that he regards as behaving in a politically motivated way, and is quoted as saying that "this is part of a pattern of charities which focus more on lobbying the government on issues than on their causes." He is not the only MP to believe this as a recent study by nfpSynergy showed that the majority of MPs are wary of charities "being political".[26]

Asylum[edit]

Davies was described by a rival candidate as being on the "far right of the Conservative Party", which he described as an attempt to smear him as "some sort of Nazi" for raising concerns over immigration.[27] A critic of the Coalition, Davies once wrote a letter to his constituents apologising for "incompetence at the highest levels of government" and accusing David Cameron of failing to listen to the concerns of backbenchers and the people who elected them.[28]

Davies was criticised in 2015 for using the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack to promote the Conservative Party election pledge to abolish the Human Rights Act 1998. Davies’ claim that “under current laws, including the Human Rights Act, anyone can come to the UK and make a claim for asylum” [29] was rebutted in The Guardian[30] and two separate articles by Dr Mark Elliot at the University of Cambridge,[31][32] and by legal practitioner Adam Wagner.[33] Wagner commented that Davies "does not understand the law."[33] Wagner wrote that Davies was “wrong to say that 'Under current laws, including the Human Rights Act, anyone can come to the UK and make a claim for asylum.' The right to claim asylum is not contained in the Human Rights Act. It is in the 1951 Refugee Convention." [33]

In response to the 2015 refugee crisis Davies said that most of the people attempting to enter the UK via Calais were not refugees fleeing war, but were economic migrants "mostly young men, mostly with mobile phones, chancing their luck".[34] Davies attracted media attention in October 2016 with a tweet suggesting refugees to the UK should have dental checks to determine their age. His view was criticised by the British Dental Association which issued a statement describing the test as "inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical".[35] The suggestion was also criticised by the British Association of Social Workers, and the test was also ruled out by the Home Office.[36] In October 2016, Davies said that a child migrant arriving in the UK from Calais had "lines around his eyes and looks older than I am."[37] Davies appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain on 19 October to defend dental checks, but became engaged in a heated exchange with Piers Morgan, who accused Davies of demonising refugee children, a charge which Davies denied.[38] Later that year, Home Office figures revealed that more than two-thirds of refugees arriving in the UK who had their age assessed were over 18.[39][40]

In August 2017, Davies criticised a senior Met officer for suggesting police should prioritise non-English speaking victims of crime for personal visits from officers. Davies described the suggestion as "appalling and discriminatory". When comedian Matt Lucas criticised Davies he responded by calling Lucas a "moron" and a "leftie luvvie".[41]

Severn crossing[edit]

Davies has said that he had been persuaded that continuing with a private operator was not in the interests of bridge users, and has called on his own government to take state control of the two Severn crossings so motorists and businesses can enjoy VAT-free tolls on a permanent basis. Davies is quoted as saying: “In normal circumstances I would be happy for a private company to run the bridges, but it’s important to be pragmatic. It’s clear that if the bridges are run by a state body, motorists and businesses would not have to pay VAT at 20% to drive across. The crossings are vital for the Welsh economy, and it’s important to get them down as much as possible."[42]

Criticism of Velothon Wales[edit]

Davies strongly criticised the planning and organisation of the first Velothon Wales event to be run in Wales which passed through his constituency. This was due to the disruption to local businesses, and complaints from residents who would be trapped in their home all day.[43]

Personal life[edit]

As his name sounds similar to David Davis, the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and a candidate in the 2005 Conservative leadership contest, confusion could occur between the two in Westminster. Therefore, David Davies is referred to in the House of Commons as David T.C. Davies.[citation needed]

Special constable[edit]

Davies was sworn in as a Special Constable with the British Transport Police in March 2007. On his third patrol he searched a man acting suspiciously and found a handgun.[44]

In August 2011, Davies wrote about his experiences out on riot duty and lamented that police were ordered not to go out alone in uniform due to the danger.[45] Davies had to return from a short holiday for the recall of Parliament to discuss the riots across England and also served on the front line, joining patrols in London that week in his role as a special constable. He called for the police to be encouraged to take tougher action during the riots.[46]

He was asked to resign in 2015 after serving nine years as a special constable due to new rules about police officers taking part in politics.[47]

Honours and awards[edit]

QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave.
  2. ^ a b "BBC News AMs profile – David Davies". BBC. 12 May 1998. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  3. ^ "MP David Davies steps down from cash-row boxing body". Wales Online. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. ^ "About David". David Davies MP. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.; although note that the campaign is misdated to 1999.
  5. ^ "Jones warning over Tory victory". BBC News. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b "About David". David Davies MP website. 5 December 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (18 May 2005). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 May 2005 (pt 14)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2010.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  9. ^ "MP defends police race criticism". BBC News. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  10. ^ "Addressing the National Black Police Association's annual conference in York". 13 August 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Welsh MP expense claims released". BBC News. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  12. ^ "MPs' Expenses: Right to Reply". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  13. ^ "Many MPs 'considered resigning'". BBC News. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  14. ^ "MP David Davies volunteers to reveal his expenses". Wales Online. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  15. ^ Shipton, Martin (7 May 2013). "MP Nigel Evans 'should not stand down' say friends stunned by allegations against deputy speaker".
  16. ^ "MP Nigel Evans cleared of sexual assaults". 10 April 2014 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  17. ^ "Conservative MP says most parents do not want gay children". The Guardian. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  18. ^ Hern, Alex (10 December 2012). "David Davies MP: I'm not bigoted, I punched a gay man". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  19. ^ [1] The House of Commons.2013. Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012–13.
  20. ^ Kite, Melissa (14 January 2007). "Return of the spectre of Europe". Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  21. ^ https://www.indy100.com/article/brexit-david-davies-tory-mp-bbc-wales-interview-watch-8924681
  22. ^ Monbiot, George (16 September 2013). "How much longer can MPs resist this flat-Earth love-in?". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  23. ^ a b "Row over MP's rape case comments". BBC News. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  24. ^ "Welsh language row erupts on BBC radio show". BBC News. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  25. ^ "MP Talks Immigration". David Davies MP for Monmouth. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  26. ^ Tory MP accuses Save the Children of being politically motivated, civilsociety.co.uk; accessed 8 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Tory candidate 'Nazi smear' row". BBC News. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  28. ^ "Tory MP David Davies sorry for 'incompetent government'". BBC. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  29. ^ "Paris attacks show need to scrap Human Rights Act | David T C Davies MP". David-davies.org.uk. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  30. ^ Kherbane, Rabah (9 February 2015). "Why every aspiring lawyer should study human rights law | Law". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  31. ^ Elliott, Mark (8 January 2015). "David Davies MP on the Paris shootings and the Human Rights Act: a short response – Professor Mark Elliott". Public Law for Everyone. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  32. ^ Afifi-Sabet, Keumars (9 January 2015). "Tory MP David Davies Blasted For Using Charlie Hedbo Attack To Call For End Of Human Rights Act". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  33. ^ a b c Wagner, Adam (8 January 2015). "Paris attacks show need to scrap Human Rights Act, says Tory MP with no understanding of the Human Rights Act – UK Human Rights Blog". Ukhumanrightsblog.com. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  34. ^ "MP: Most refugees are 'young men chancing their luck'". BBC News. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  35. ^ Wilkinson, Michael (19 October 2016). "Home Office rules out 'inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical' dental checks to verify age of Calais refugee children". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  36. ^ Merrick, Rob (19 October 2016). "Tory MP who demanded teeth checks for child refugees accused of adding to their trauma". The Independent. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  37. ^ "Child migrant 'looks older than me', says David Davies". BBC News. 19 October 2016.
  38. ^ https://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/news/tory-mp-david-davies-derided-dentists…-and-piers-morgan
  39. ^ Walker, Peter (19 October 2016). "Two thirds of Calais 'child refugees' are adults, Home Office reveals". The Independent. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  40. ^ "Two-thirds of child refugees screened by officials found to be adults, Home Office figures show". The Daily Telegraph. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  41. ^ "Conservative MP David Davies branded 'racist' by comedian Matt Lucas in non-English speakers row". London Evening Standard. 27 August 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  42. ^ "Severn bridges must come back under state control, urges MP". Wales Online. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  43. ^ "Velothon Wales 'lied' over consultation says David Davies". BBC News. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  44. ^ "Tory MP makes loaded gun arrest". BBC News. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  45. ^ "UK Riots: Fear was such that even police were ordered not to go out alone". The Commentator. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  46. ^ "Welsh MPs to attend UK riots debate in Parliament". BBC News. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  47. ^ "MPs asked to leave Special Constabulary", Police Oracle, 13 January 2015

External links[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
New title Assembly Member for Monmouth
19992007
Succeeded by
Nick Ramsay
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Huw Edwards
Member of Parliament for Monmouth
2005–present
Incumbent