Chris Davies (Liberal Democrat politician)


Christopher Graham Davies (born 7 July 1954) is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom. He is a former Member of Parliament. He served as a Member of the European Parliament for North West England from 1999 to 2014 and from 2019 to 2020.

Chris Davies
Member of the European Parliament
for North West England
In office
2 July 2019  31 January 2020
Preceded byJacqueline Foster
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
In office
10 June 1999  2 July 2014
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byAfzal Khan
Member of Parliament
for Littleborough and Saddleworth
In office
27 July 1995  8 April 1997
Preceded byGeoffrey Dickens
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born
Christopher Graham Davies

(1954-07-07) 7 July 1954 (age 67)
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England, UK
NationalityBritish
Political partyLiberal Democrats
ResidenceGreenfield, Greater Manchester
Alma materCheadle Hulme School
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Biography


Davies was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. His father was a doctor, and his mother a nurse. He was educated at the independent Cheadle Hulme School (1965–1972), at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (1972–1975, reading history) and from 1975 to 1977 at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

Davies is a resident of Greenfield, in Saddleworth, Oldham, Greater Manchester.[1][2]

Political career


Local government

Davies was a Liberal member of Liverpool City Council from 1980 to 1984, representing Abercromby ward and serving as Chairman of the Housing Committee. From 1994 to 1998 he was a Liberal Democrat councillor for Lees ward on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

Member of Parliament

Davies contested Liverpool Scotland Exchange in 1979, and then Littleborough and Saddleworth in 1987 and 1992. He became the MP for that seat after a by-election in 1995, during which time Labour campaign manager Peter Mandelson branded him “...high on taxes and soft on drugs” for supporting Liberal Democrat policy on increasing income tax by 1p in the pound to provide additional funding for education, and to establish a Royal Commission to consider decriminalisation of cannabis.[3] His election campaign was controversial due to Davies openly campaigning while the incumbent MP Geoffrey Dickens was dying from liver cancer.[4]

The Littleborough and Saddleworth seat was abolished by the time of the 1997 General Election. Davies contested Oldham East and Saddleworth at the 1997 election but lost to Phil Woolas of Labour.[5]

European Parliament

Davies was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the North West England constituency in 1999 and served as the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) in the European Parliament. In December 2009 Davies appeared on The Politics Show North West alongside Nick Griffin on a debate regarding climate change and the then forthcoming 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which both men were attending as part of the EU Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.[6]

In March 2014 he won a parliamentarian of the year award for his work to promote sustainable fishing through Fish for the Future, an all-party group he created in 2010.[7] His efforts included dressing as a fish in the European Parliament to raise awareness of the need for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).[8] He lost his seat in the 2014 European election.

During his time as an MEP, Davies was active in the environment, climate and energy policy sectors, and served as the ALDE coordinator (team leader) on the ENVI committee from 2007.[9] He was the rapporteur for the Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Carbon capture and storage, CCS) Directive in 2008-9[10] and for the implementation report on CCS in 2013–14,[11] which called for greater action to develop and deploy CCS in the EU. In 2008 he drafted an amendment[12] that led to the creation of a funding mechanism for CCS and innovative renewable energy projects that became known as NER300, later described by the European Commission as one of the world's largest funding programmes for innovative low-carbon energy demonstration projects.[13]

Controversies


Davies served as the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the environment and public health in the European Parliament.

In 2006, Davies was forced to resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats group in the European Parliament, due to the tone of a series of emails he exchanged with a Jewish constituent. Davies accused a Jewish constituent of "wallowing in your own filth"; accused Israel of "posing as a victim" while pursuing "racist policies of apartheid" and had written "I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries." Party Leader Sir Menzies Campbell called his comments "unacceptable".[14][15][16]

In 2008, Davies made some widely publicised comments on an unpublished report which, he claimed, contained evidence of "embezzlement and fraud" among EU parliament members.[17]

At the autumn 2009 Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth, Davies made a speech in a debate about the MP expenses scandal, where he appeared to become very angry, saying: "I hate the dirty cheating bastards who have taken every opportunity to fill their private pockets with public money … they should play no part in public life". He went on the implore his Liberal Democrat colleagues to "Publish everything, reveal all, hide nothing."[18]

References


  1. "TV damages health, literally". The Oldham Advertiser. 5 February 2009. p. 11.
  2. "Chris Davies". libdemmeps.eu. 2007. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  3. Matthews, Patrick (15 August 1999). "We're all going to pot". The Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. "The Economist". Charles Reynell. 16 March 1995 via Google Books.
  5. Hasan, Mehdi (12 November 2010). "The Labour right strikes back". New Statesman. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  6. Video on YouTube
  7. "About us". Fish for the Future. Wordpress. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  8. "Uploads2013". EU News. EU News.
  9. "History of Parliementary Service Chris Davies MEP". European Parliament MEPs. European Parliament.
  10. "DIRECTIVE 2009/31/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006". eur-lex.europa.eu/. European Commission. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  11. Davies (rapporteur), Chris. "Report on implementation report 2013: developing and applying carbon capture and storage technology in Europe (2013/2079(INI))". European Parliament. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  12. "Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community (Text with EEA relevance)". Eur-Lex. European Parliament & Council. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  13. "NER 300 programme". ec.europa.eu. European Commission. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  14. Hirsh, David. "Revenge of the Jewish lobby?", The Guardian, 5 May 2006.
  15. "Lib Dem quits in row over remarks". BBC News. 4 May 2006.
  16. Sholem, Alex (4 May 2006). "MEP Disciplined Over Slur". Totally Jewish. Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. - full text of the email exchange that led to Davies's resignation
  17. "MEP fraud claims to face scrutiny". BBC News. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  18. "Lib Dem expenses rant". YouTube. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2010.