Andrew R. T. Davies


Andrew Robert Tudor Davies CBE (born 1968) is a Welsh Conservative Party politician serving as Member of the Senedd since 2007.[2] He was elected Leader of the Welsh Conservative Party in the Senedd on 14 July 2011,[3][4] resigning the position on 27 June 2018.[5]


Andrew R. T. Davies

Leader of the Welsh Conservative Party
In office
14 July 2011  27 June 2018
DeputyPaul Davies
LeaderDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byNick Bourne
Succeeded byPaul Davies
Leader of the Opposition in Wales
In office
14 July 2011  5 May 2016
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterCarwyn Jones
Preceded byPaul Davies
Succeeded byLeanne Wood
In office
6 April 2017  27 June 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterCarwyn Jones
Preceded byLeanne Wood [1]
Succeeded byPaul Davies
Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
In office
16 June 2008  1 July 2009
LeaderNick Bourne
Preceded byAlun Cairns
Succeeded byPaul Davies
Shadow Minister for Transport
In office
11 July 2007  16 June 2008
LeaderNick Bourne
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byDavid Melding
Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded byJonathan Morgan
Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council for Rhoose
Assumed office
15 February 2019
Preceded byMatthew Lloyd (Con)
Majority772 (41.66%)
Personal details
Born1968 (age 5152)
Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
NationalityWelsh
Political partyConservative

Background


Davies was educated at Llanfair Primary School, St John's Preparatory School, Porthcawl, and later boarded at Wycliffe College, Stroud.[6] He is married to a qualified midwife and they have four children.[6] He is a partner in the family farming business based in St Hilary near Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan.[7] Davies was a Welsh delegate on the Council of the National Farmers Union (NFU),[3] vice-president of the local Young Farmers Club, and is a former Chairman of Creative Communities,[8] which seeks to develop structural community development. Davies is also a life governor of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, and was the Society's Oxford Scholar in 2002.[8] He is a former governor at Llanfair Primary School.[9]

Political career


Joining the Conservative Party in 1997, Davies fought Cardiff West in the 2001 general election,[10] and Brecon and Radnorshire in 2005.[11] He served as Deputy Chairman (Political) for the Conservative Party in South Wales Central from 2002 to 2003, a region that comprises the Conservative Associations in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Between 2004 and 2005 he was Deputy Chairman of the Cardiff West Conservative Association. In 2007, he was elected to the National Assembly of Wales on the South Wales Central regional list.[2] Davies' political interests include education, health and rural affairs.

In the Third Assembly he was appointed Shadow Minister for Transport in the Senedd from 7 July 2007 to 16 June 2008,[12] and Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills from 16 June 2008.[12] He also sat on the Assembly's Petitions Committee and the Subordinate Legislation Committee.[12] In 2009 he became the Shadow Minister for Health in the National Assembly for Wales.[12] He has also won an award for being "Assembly Member to Watch" in December 2008.[8]

Welsh Conservatives leadership era

He was elected as Leader of the Welsh Conservatives on 14 July 2011, having won 53.1 per cent of the vote.[13]

In June 2018 Wales Online led an investigation into what they described as Davies keeping his "public constituency office hidden from the public".[14] The piece stated the office was located in a "wooden cabin 50 yards beyond a vehicle security barrier on a rural farm estate".[14] In a freedom of information response by the Assembly Commission,[14] the address of the office was confirmed as Penllyn Estate, Llwynhelig, Cowbridge CF71 7FF,[14] a 1,200-acre mixed farm operation. The information only came to light after the FOI request by a Conservative Party member.[14] A spokesperson for Davies responded to the investigation by stating the arrangements had been made "following a security incident at Andrew’s previous office on Cowbridge High Street where police attended to support a female employee",[14] necessitating a more secure location. They continued stating that "Andrew regularly hosts constituents and organisations at his office and if he knew a Western Mail journalist had intended to visit he would’ve been there to welcome him with the kettle on".[14]

Davies led criticism of Natural Resources Wales in November 2018, particularly around their selling of timber on a closed rather than open market.[15] He has proposed splitting NRW into two separate bodies, and described the "bloated and largely incompetent quango" body as "no longer fit for purpose".[15] Plaid agriculture spokesman Llyr Gruffydd however stated the issues faced by NRW were down to the 35% real terms cut in their budget and the organisation being under resourced.[15]

Resignation

Davies responded to concerns raised by Airbus in June 2018 regarding the threat of a no-deal Brexit by stating that "there is a lot of hyperbole flying around" regarding a no deal Brexit. The comments were criticised by Conservative figures including Guto Bebb.[16] Bebb went on to dispute Davies title as "Leader of the Welsh Conservatives", stating he only led the Assembly group.[16] Secretary of State Alun Cairns described Airbus' comments as a "wake-up call" for "one of the jewels in the crown of UK manufacturing".[16] A number of Davies' Welsh Conservative colleagues, including Secretary of State Alun Cairns, Mr Davies' Deputy, Paul Davies, and Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay, were all Remain supporters, in contrast to Davies role as a Vote Leave voice in the Welsh Conservatives.[17]

In Spring 2018, a text was reportedly sent by Cairns which discussed with Welsh Conservative AMs how and when to remove Davies.[18] Davies initially only stated that a figure in Westminster had sent the text, but refused to name the individual.[19] This text was reportedly sent to Davies by accident, describing how "the other end of the M4" were in support of his replacement.[18]

In around April 2018, it was rumoured that his Deputy Leader Paul Davies was planning a leadership challenge to Davies.[17] Amid internal discussions in the party, Nick Ramsay reportedly made it clear to Mr Davies that they did not like each other prior to his resignation,[17] and an AM reportedly "stormed out" of a dinner regarding the leadership of the party after Davies had spoken, who later was reported to be Ramsay.[20]

Davies resigned as Leader of the Welsh Conservative Party on 27 June 2018.[21] A source close to Davies described the events at the time as "the revenge of Tory Remainers who can’t forgive him for going against Cameron and campaigning for a Leave vote in the Brexit referendum."[17] Davies resignation was viewed by some in the media as sparked by Davies' "inflammatory remarks" towards Airbus.[20] Sources close to Davies however spoke to the media and stated they felt he had been victim of "a plot to get rid of him for "seven or eight weeks"[17] dating back to his controversial "decision to back a Leave vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum" which came against the wishes of then Prime Minister David Cameron, who had backed Remain.[17]

Post Leadership Assembly career

In 2019, Davies was reported by Wales Online as having the highest budget for constituency office spending of any AM in the five Assembly political groups, with a spend of £102,655, including £35,182 for a salary for his wife Julia. Davies did not respond to requests for comments in the piece.[22]

In a June 2019 op-ed on Nation.Cymru, Davies stated his top wishes from an incoming Conservative Prime Minister for Wales would be:[23]

  • A "shared prosperity fund" replacing the Joint Ministerial Committee.
  • A "significant investment in Welsh infrastructure projects" to make up for previous rejections including the M4 Relief Road and tidal lagoon, through a "Green Deal".
  • A "broadband revolution".
  • The "devolution of air passenger duty" for Cardiff Airport.
  • The restructuring of the Wales Office.
  • Welsh representation on national and cross border bodies, to respond to the issues such as where the Countess of Chester hospital rejected Welsh patients.[24]
  • Welsh figures on regulators such as OFGEM, OFCOM, and Ofwat.

Stance on Brexit and its impact on Wales


During the Brexit referendum campaign Davies suggested Wales would be better off financially outside the EU, stating: "Wales could be as much as half a billion pounds a year better off if the UK votes to leave the European Union."[25]

In a July 2016 interview with WalesOnline, Davies promised that Brexit would not reduce investment in Wales, and instead told the newspaper that "Wales must not lose a penny of the money that has historically flowed into Wales".[26] His claim was later proven false after the referendum when his fellow Conservative, the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, confirmed that the UK Government would reduce the amount allocated for Wales (which the European Union had earmarked at £1.9 billion for the period 2014 to 2020).[27]

In the run-up to the UK's invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, Davies claimed that the Welsh Government should be denied the right to be part of Brexit negotiations on devolved areas.[28]

Despite his firm anti-EU stance, Davies' family firm TJ Davies and Sons had accepted a total of £96,808.89 in EU subsidies over the period 16 October 2013 to 15 October 2014 alone, including £70,930.63 allocated under the Single Area payment scheme, £24,099.86 in agro-environmental payments, and £1,728.40 from the first Afforestation of Agricultural Land scheme.[29] Commenting on the revelation of these figures, Britain Stronger in Europe spokesman James McGrory said "taking money from Europe while saying we should leave is hypocrisy of the first order."[30]

In September 2019 Davies criticised proposals by the Liberal Democrats, Labour, and other parties which would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to Article 50 if it prevented a no deal exit from the European Union. He described the avoidance of Brexit on 31 October as a "betrayal of democracy".[31] He criticised First Minister Mark Drakeford for recalling the Welsh Assembly to debate Brexit, stating that the decision would "achieve nothing", and joined Conservative ministers in voting against a motion criticising the UK Government's handling of a no deal exit.[32]

Vale of Glamorgan Council


Davies was elected as a County Councillor for Rhoose in a by-election on 14 February 2019,[33] and claims a salary of £13,868 before expenses,[34] alongside his salary as an Assembly Minister. When standing for election Davies pledged to donate his council salary to good causes in the Rhoose ward and has since created a community fund which makes regular donations to community groups and worthwhile causes in the area.[35]

Davies has been a keen opponent of the Barry incinerator site, and in August 2019 in his role as Assembly Minister queried Deputy Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn on when she had last met council officials regarding the project, and whether an Environmental Impact Assessment would be carried out.[36]

Honours


Davies was made a Commander of the Order of British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours, "for political and public service".[37]

References


  1. Vacant 14 October 2016 – 6 April 2017
  2. "Third Assembly". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  3. "Davies named Tory assembly leader". 14 July 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  4. "Andrew RT Davies is the new leader of the Welsh Conservatives". Gazette. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  5. Morris, Steven (27 June 2018). "Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies quits after Airbus row". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  6. Williamson, David (23 April 2016). "The boy who thinks he could be Wales' first Tory First Minister". walesonline. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. "Farmer Andrew RT Davies steps down as Wales' Conservative leader". www.farminguk.com. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  8. "Andrew RT Davies". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  9. "Register of interests for Andrew RT Davies AM". senedd.assembly.wales. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  10. "General Election results, 7 June 2001" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 18 June 2001.
  11. Apr 2005, 4:12PM BST 21 (21 April 2005). "Complete list of General Election candidates". www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  12. "Member Profile". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  13. "Andrew RT Davies elected Tory Welsh assembly leader". BBC. 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  14. Shipton, Martin (26 June 2018). "The Welsh politician who keeps his public office hidden from the public". walesonline. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  15. "Call to axe 'largely incompetent' NRW". 27 November 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  16. "Tory row over Airbus threat comment". 22 June 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  17. Shipton, Martin (28 June 2018). "The story behind Andrew RT Davies' ousting as Welsh Conservative leader". walesonline. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  18. "Welsh Tory leader coup text sent by Cairns". 11 July 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  19. "Ex-Tory leader 'got coup attempt text'". 2 July 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  20. Dafydd, Aled ap (27 June 2018). "Was there a coup?". Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  21. "Welsh conservative leader Andrew RT Davies quits". BBC News.
  22. Hayward, Will (4 August 2019). "These are the AMs who spend the most public money on staff". walesonline. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  23. "Six things I would like to see the new Prime Minister do for Wales". Nation.Cymru. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  24. "English hospital says no to Wales' patients". 4 April 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  25. "'Brexit Dividend' could mean Wales is half a billion pounds better off - The Ceredigion Herald". 21 June 2016. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017.
  26. "Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies on Brexit, immigration, EU cash and Wales' future - Wales Online". WalesOnline. 31 December 2019. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  27. "Wales told not to expect same level of funding as it got from the EU after voting Brexit". The Independent. 14 July 2016. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017.
  28. "RT Davies: 'Reality' call for Welsh Government Brexit role". BBC News. 27 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017.
  29. Shipton, Martin (14 March 2016). "Welsh Tory leader got £100k farming subsidy from the EU in a year". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017.
  30. Shipton, Martin; Bloom, Dan (15 March 2016). "Brexit-backing top Tory rakes in £100,000 of subsidies from the EU". mirror. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  31. "Anti-no deal Brexit plan backed by most Welsh MPs". 4 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  32. "Parliament suspension prompts assembly recall". 28 August 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  33. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-47238645
  34. "Member's Schedule of Remuneration 2019/20" (PDF). Vale of Glamorgan Council. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  35. "Councillor's Community Fund helps deliver defibrillator". Glamorgan Gem Ltd. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  36. "AM slams Council's 'slapdash' attitudes on incinerator". Glamorgan Gem Ltd. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  37. "Awards for NY2020" (PDF).