Philip Davies

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For other people named Philip Davies, see Philip Davies (disambiguation).
Philip Davies
Member of Parliament
for Shipley
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Chris Leslie
Majority 9,944 (20.1%)
Personal details
Born (1972-01-05) 5 January 1972 (age 43)
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Deborah Helmsley (divorced)[1]
Children Two sons
Alma mater University of Huddersfield

Philip Andrew Davies (born 5 January 1972) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Shipley in West Yorkshire. He is the most rebellious currently serving Conservative MP, having voted against the Tory Whip 120 times[2] and has been criticised for his use of the filibuster to "kill off legislation he doesn’t like"

Early life[edit]

Born in Doncaster, he was educated at the Old Swinford Hospital school, Stourbridge, and the University of Huddersfield where he was awarded a 2:1 BA Hons degree in History and Political Studies in 1993. He joined the Conservative Party in 1988. He worked at Asda from September 1993 to May 2005,[3] first as a Customer Services Manager and later as a Marketing Manager. He has also worked at Marilyn Davies Bookmakers and Mark Jarvis Bookmakers.[4]

Parliamentary career[edit]

He unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary seat of Colne Valley at the 2001 general election and was defeated by the sitting Labour MP Kali Mountford by 4,639 votes.

In May 2005, he was elected as an MP at the 2005 general election for the seat of Shipley with a majority of 422 votes, removing the sitting Labour MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Constitutional Affairs Chris Leslie. He received donations toward his successful campaign from Bearwood Corporate Services,[5] a front company set up by non-domicile Lord Ashcroft to give out donations to marginal seats such as Davies'. Bearwood has given a total of £5.1 million to the Conservative Party since 2003.[6]

He made his maiden speech on 7 June 2005, where he remembered Titus Salt and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Saltaire. He also announced that he wanted to remain a backbencher and not to be a shadow spokesman or a minister, and that he wanted to feel able to speak for his constituents.[7] Davies held his seat with an increased majority of just under 10,000 votes in the 2010 general election.

He was re-elected onto the Executive Committee of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs in 2010 and is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. He has also become a member of the newly established backbench business committee and a member of the Speaker's Panel, chairing Westminster Hall debates.[8] Davies is rated as one of the Conservatives' most rebellious MPs.[9]

On 2 November 2012, Davies wrote to the Metropolitan Police Service requesting it to re-open a second investigation into ex-Labour MP Denis MacShane's expenses claims.[10]

In November 2014, Philip Davies was reprimanded by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons during his successful attempt to 'talk out' the Tenancies (Reform) Bill which would have prevented landlords from evicting tenants for requesting vital repairs.[11]

Investigation into links with the gambling industry[edit]

In 2012 Davies was exposed for accepting gifts from bookmaking organisations whilst at the same time calling for them to be given tax concessions by the UK Government.[12] Subsequently he also supported offshore bookmakers by opposing a Point of Consumption Tax on online gambling. On 1 February 2013, it was reported that Davies was to be investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after a complaint claiming he received more than £10,000 in benefits from companies with links to the gambling industry which he did not fully declare during a year-long investigation into the betting trade.[13] The Commissioner required Davies to apologise for breaching the parliamentary code after not declaring an interest in a debate and at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The financial interest involved was £870 of hospitality from the bookmaker Ladbrokes, rather than the larger amount complained about which came from another company which was not relevant enough to gambling.[14]

Altercation with Jon Snow[edit]

On 21 October 2014 Davies, as part of a group, was given a tour of the ITN building on Gray's Inn Road in London. During the tour, Davies argued heatedly with the Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow whom he called too left-wing and suggested Snow should retire.[15] Snow reportedly began the row by challenging Davies to demonstrate when he had shown any bias. He told Anita Singh of The Daily Telegraph: "I said I was quite happy to come back at a later date but I hadn't come armed with any examples today." Davies accused Snow of behaving like a "playground bully" in their encounter.[16]


Political commentator Peter Hitchens has described Davies as being a "genuinely conservative" MP.[17] He is a member of the Freedom Association and often claims to be libertarian (see "Political correctness" section below), for example voting against the smoking ban in 2006.[18] However, his stance on DNA databases, CCTV and law and order is decidedly more authoritarian.[19] He has called for government to "scrap the Human Rights Act for foreign nationals and chuck them out of the country"[20] and he has been criticised as "disgracefully reactionary" for saying publicly that he wanted to see "an increase in the prison population."[21] Davies did not want to ban smoking in cars with children, does not want books sent to prisoners, and dislikes gay marriage.[22]

Views on the European Union[edit]

Davies has called for complete withdrawal from the European Union, starting the Better Off Out campaign,[23] and campaigning at the Conservative Party Conference in 2005.

The eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party did not field a candidate against Davies in the 2010 general election and campaigned for his re-election as a result of his anti-EU views.[24] In the event, Davies held his seat with an increased majority of just under 10,000 votes.

Views on Islam[edit]

On 7 October 2006, after an act of vandalism initially alleged to have been perpetrated by Muslims, The Sun quoted Davies as saying "if there’s anybody who should f*** off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing."[25] It was later exposed by The Independent, among others, that the incident never involved Muslims[26] and The Sun was forced to issue an apology four months later.[27]

On 28 March 2007 the Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported that Davies urged Muslims in the whole country to fly the Union flag on mosques to show their unity and commitment to Britain.[28] He is treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group.[29]

In July 2010 Davies argued it would not be beneficial to allow the United Kingdom Youth Parliament to stage a debate in the House of Commons Chamber because it would create a precedent which would mean organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain would be able to use the House of Commons.[30]

Views on racial equality[edit]

Davies is the parliamentary spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness[31] and he has been accused of wasting the Equality and Human Rights Commission's time by sending a stream of correspondence to its Chair, Trevor Phillips, between 2008 and 2009. In this correspondence, he asked questions relating to race and sex discrimination such as: "Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person?" and "Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?"[32][33] Leading some commentators to suggest that he was "lobbying for 'blacking up.'"[34][35] He also asked whether it was racist for a policeman to refer to a BMW as "black man's wheels" and whether the Metropolitan Black Police Association breaches discrimination law by restricting its membership to black people.[32] Peter Herbert, the chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, said: "This correspondence seems a complete and utter waste of time... he shouldn't be using the Human Rights Commission as basically a source of legal advice."[32]

Views on gender equality and sex education[edit]

In March 2007 he voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 which proposed to allow the Secretary of State to make regulations defining discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation, create criminal offences, and provide for exceptions.[36] He also complained, while calling for a Parliamentary debate on "political correctness", about a school production of Romeo and Julian during LGBT History month. Commons Leader Harriet Harman described his remarks as "cheap shots".[37]

He was called a "troglodyte" by then Conservative MP and current Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow for his opposition to debating the Equalities Bill, the effect of the recession on women and International Women’s Day.[38]

On 16 October 2012 he argued against the claims that women are treated more harshly in prison stating, "Let us imagine that the male population in prison represented just 5% of the total and that women made up the remaining 95%. Would there be an outcry on behalf of the men at the expense of the women? Of course not. There is absolutely no chance on earth that that would happen, so why is there all this concern over 5% of the prison population? How can normally thoughtful, intelligent people have taken such leave of their senses over the issue? The answer is simple. It is all about being politically correct, and not many people in public life like to challenge it, but I do, Mrs Osborne, and today I want to take the opportunity to scotch some myths about all types of sentencing for women. I want to bust five particular myths."[39]

Speaking in Parliament in October 2014, Davies said he believes parents and not schools should take responsibility for the sex education of children. He believes his constituents associate increased sex education with an increase in teenage pregnancies and would welcome its abandonment.[40]

Views on disability[edit]

He has said in Parliament that disabled workers are "by definition" less productive and could work for less than the minimum wage.[41][42] He was criticised by Labour's Anne Begg and a member of his own parliamentary party, among others, and the Conservative party quickly distanced themselves from his comments.[43] Representatives from mental illness charities Mind and Rethink called his suggestion "preposterous"[42] and "seriously misguided."[44]

Global poverty[edit]

In early 2010, Davies was criticised by the press[45] and religious organisations[38] for using Parliamentary rules to "wreck" the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill, an anti-poverty measure designed to stop "vulture funds" from buying up the debt of third-world countries in order to aggressively pursue repayments through the international courts. The bill was stopped because an anonymous Tory shouted "object", but was passed into law after intervention by Conservative whips.[46] [47]

Reform of parliament[edit]

He is against reform of parliament and has been targeted by the Power 2010 campaign as one of 6 MPs "who stand in the way of a reforming Parliament". Davies responded in the local press saying that the group's view was "unbalanced".[19]

Economic views[edit]

He is an organiser for the economically right-wing Taxpayers' Alliance.[48] He is among a minority of Conservative MPs[49] who has called for the scrapping of the minimum wage in the UK[50][51] and in 2011 he suggested that disabled people should be allowed to work for below minimum wage, giving employers the incentive to employ them. He was criticised by disabled charities for his comments and the Conservative Party quickly distanced themselves from the suggestion.[41][44] Davies' initial response was that the furore over his comments was "Left-wing hysteria".[42]

In March 2011 Davies claimed, that there was "no basis in evidence" that restricting branding on cigarette packets would reduce smoking levels, saying "I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that."[52] Ben Goldacre promptly outlined in his column in The Guardian the evidence base that Davies claimed did not exist, concluding that: "If you don’t care about this evidence, or you think jobs are more important than people killed by cigarettes, or you think libertarian principles are more important than both, then that’s a different matter. But if you say the evidence doesn’t show evidence of harm from branded packaging, you are simply wrong."[53]

Local issues[edit]

In January 2011 was actively opposing the planned housing developments in his constituency.[54] He called for a fairer slice of the 'transport cake' for his constituency, coupled with working with local residents on issues such as the flight path of planes from Leeds/Bradford Airport and helping parents to get their children to their desired schools.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Davies married Deborah Gail Hemsley, whom he met at university, in July 1994 in Doncaster. The couple had sons. They separated in 2011, blaming the pressures of his role as an MP,[55] and divorced in November 2012.[1] He now shares a flat in London with fellow MP Esther McVey.[1]

Davies' father is Peter Davies who in 2009, standing for the English Democrats, was elected Mayor of Doncaster.[56]


  1. ^ a b c "Former wife of Shipley MP is expecting baby". Keighley News. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Where are they now? Philip Davies MP". The Grocer. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Philip Davies: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Register of Members Interests: Philip Davies". 
  6. ^ "Briefing: Lord Ashcroft and Bearwood". Times Online. 4 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Orders of the Day — Finance Bill". Hansard/TheyWorkForYou. 7 June 2005. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^ "MP's expenses: Denis MacShane resigns over false invoices". BBC News. 2 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Oliver Wright (14 December 2014). "Philip Davies, the master of filibuster and friend to rogue landlords". The Independent. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Tory MP calls for betting tax cuts — after £5,500 donations from bookies". Political Scrapbook. 27 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Tory MP to be investigated over gambling industry benefits". The Guardian. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (19 March 2013). "MP apologises for code breach over Cheltenham trip". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Sommers, Jack (23 October 2014). "Jon Snow Has Extraordinary Bustup With Tory MP Philip Davies In Channel 4 News Studio". The Huffington Post. 
  16. ^ Singh, Anita (22 October 2014). "Jon Snow 'acted like playground bully', says Tory MP". Daily Telegraph. 
  17. ^ Hitchens, Peter (20 June 2010). "A genuine Tory speaks out... and all Dave can do is flannel". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b Bourley, Anika (23 March 2010). "Shipley MP hits back at group's 'unbalanced' take on his views". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 
  20. ^ Baker, Hannah (28 January 2011). "City solicitor tells of concerns over 'prisons without bars'". 
  21. ^ Meneaud, Marc (18 January 2011). "Councillor and Tory rival to hold public debate after remark over prison numbers.". Telegraph and Argus. 
  22. ^ The Independent (London) 8 May 2015 Four reasons the Tories shouldn't feel too smug – despite an incredible election result
  23. ^ Wheeler, Brian (5 December 2006). "UKIP leader 'offered Tory seat'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Moult, Julie; Pyatt, Jamie; Reilly, Tom (7 October 2006). "Brave heroes hounded out". The Sun (London). 
  26. ^ Oborne, Peter (7 July 2008). "The shameful Islamophobia at the heart of Britain's press". The Independent (London). 
  27. ^ "Barrack attack correction". The Sun (London). 15 January 2007. 
  28. ^ "MP tells mosques to fly the flag". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 28 March 2007. 
  29. ^ UK Parliament - Register of All Party Groups
  30. ^
  31. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (8 December 2006). "The phoney war on Christmas". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  32. ^ a b c Owen, Paul (18 December 2009). "Philip Davies MP bombarded watchdog in 'political correctness' campaign". The Guardian (London). 
  33. ^ Hough, Andrew (19 December 2009). "Philip Davies: Tory MP 'never understood' why blacking-up was offensive". Daily Telegraph. 
  34. ^ Nugent, Helen (19 December 2009). "Conservative MP lobbies for ‘blacking up’". The Times (London). 
  35. ^ Mollison, Hazel (20 December 2009). "Tory MP asks: is it okay to 'black up'?". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 
  36. ^ Voting Record — Philip Davies MP, Shipley
  37. ^ "'Politically correct' Romeo and Julian play sparks anger". The Telegraph (London). 27 February 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  38. ^ a b "Yorkshire MP funded by Ashcroft's company 'will wreck anti-poverty bill'". Ekklesia. 11 March 2010. 
  39. ^ "Sentencing (Female Offenders)". 16 October 2012. 
  40. ^ Deacon, Michael (21 October 2014). "Sketch: No sex education please, we're British". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  41. ^ a b "MP says minimum wage a hindrance to disabled jobseekers". BBC News. 17 June 2011. 
  42. ^ a b c Ross, Tim; Winnett, Robert (18 June 2011). "Disabled should work for less than minimum wage, Tory MP suggests". The Telegraph (London). 
  43. ^ Stratton, Allegra (17 June 2011). "Tory MP Philip Davies: disabled people could work for less pay". The Guardian (London). 
  44. ^ a b "Tory MP defends disability remarks". Yorkshire Post. 18 June 2011. 
  45. ^ Stewart, Heather (11 March 2010). "Vulture fund bill under threat from Tory backbencher". The Guardian (London). 
  46. ^ Stewart, Heather (12 March 2010). "Tories accused of scuppering vulture funds bill". The Guardian (London). 
  47. ^ Wray, Richard (8 April 2010). "Bill to stop vulture funds using UK courts gets royal assent". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  48. ^ Philip Gives Support to Tax Payers' Alliance Campaign
  49. ^ Wage Concern. "Anti-Minimum Wage Tories slammed in the Commons". YouTube. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  50. ^ "Shipley's Philip Davies is criticised". Telegraph & Argus. 12 May 2009. 
  51. ^ Wright, Greg (5 May 2009). "MP in call to scrap national minimum wage". Yorkshire Post. 
  52. ^ "Plain cigarette packs idea panned". Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  53. ^ "Why cigarette packs matter". Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  54. ^ "Councillors, campaigners and MPs form new protest group". Telegraph & Argus. 27 January 2011. 
  55. ^
  56. ^

External links[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Chris Leslie
Member of Parliament for Shipley