David T. C. Davies
David Thomas Charles Davies (born 27 July 1970) is a British Conservative Party politician. He has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Monmouth in South Wales since 2005. He served as Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee for nine and a half years before becoming a Welsh Office Minister in December 2019. A vocal critic of the European Union, he supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and continued to support Brexit after his constituency had voted to remain.
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales|
|Assumed office |
16 December 2019
|Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
|Preceded by||Kevin Foster|
|Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee|
8 June 2010 – 6 November 2019
|Preceded by||Dr Hywel Francis|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Crabb|
|Member of Parliament |
|Assumed office |
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Huw Edwards|
|Member of the Welsh Assembly |
6 May 1999 – 3 May 2007
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Nick Ramsay|
|Born||27 July 1970|
Newham, London, England
Davies was born in London and educated at Bassaleg School, Bassaleg, a suburb of Newport, Wales. 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. 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.
He unsuccessfully contested the seat of Bridgend at the 1997 general election, finishing in second place 15,248 votes behind Win Griffiths. As an opponent of the concept of a new Welsh assembly, Davies helped to set up the 'No' campaign in the devolution referendum, Davies gained a higher profile and decided to run as the Conservative candidate for Monmouth. At the inaugural 1999 Welsh Assembly Election he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales.
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.
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. 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.
In 2008, Davies was booed and slow hand clapped at a meeting of the National Black Police Officers Association. The delegates had expected the former shadow Home Secretary David Davis to attend after a mix up. He then criticised the National Black Police Association's race-based membership policy for not allowing white people interested in fighting racism to become full members and suggesting that they themselves could be guilty of racism.
In 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Davies had claimed £2,000 of taxpayers' money and paid it to his family's haulage firm. Davies defended his actions in an interview. He later said he had done nothing wrong, and told BBC Wales that his family's haulage firm was paid to provide postage stamps and to produce his self-publicity material at short notice for the annual Monmouth show and his family did not make any profit from it. 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.
Later in May 2009, after revelations about his expenses were published by The Daily Telegraph in relation to him and other politicians, Davies became the first member of the Commons to voluntarily put all his expense claims in public for anybody to examine. They were scrutinised by an independent panel which he had assembled and it emerged that Davies had claimed £475 for a Laura Ashley display cabinet for his London apartment in an addition to the £2,000 to his family's haulage firm. Davies continues to employ his wife as a part-time Office Manager.
Welsh Affairs Committee
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.
Nigel Evans trial
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." Evans was acquitted.
Same-sex marriage and LGBT rights
Davies opposed his Government's plans to introduce same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom, 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". 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.
In January 2018, Davies tweeted, "Somebody possessing a penis and pair of testicles is definitely not a woman ... This should be a biological fact not a matter for political debate." In response he was accused of being a "transphobe" by the LGBT+ Conservatives group, who branded his comment "abhorrent and out of kilter" with the Conservative Party.
Davies campaigned for Brexit which led to a disagreement with a member of the public on life television during which the two of them argued over who was the better Brexit supporter. In May 2019, while attempting a television interview on College Green, Davies was confronted by a disabled pro-Brexit activist, clearly unaware of his identity, who accused him of being a 'remoaner', a 'liar', a 'snowflake' and not a Brexiteer. Davies said that he had voted to leave in the referendum and had voted for Theresa May's failed Brexit withdrawal agreement. The two argued as Davies accused her 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 while she simultaneously filmed him.
In October 2019, commenting on his interventions following the Speaker's refusal to permit a debate on the Government's Brexit agreement, The Guardian's political sketchwriter John Crace described Davies as "one of the dimmest people in parliament – even the sheep in his Welsh constituency have a higher IQ".
In December 2020 it was announced that the EU and UK had reached a post-Brexit free trade deal on selected products which featured a customs border between Northern Ireland and the remainder of the United Kingdom. Davies said "this is a historic day, the most historic since the Berlin Wall came down".
Davies has a history of denying both the existence of significant climate change and denying human factors in climate change. This is despite the overwhelming consensus of leading experts around world stating the opposite.
Davies called for a debate in Parliament on climate change in 2013 in which he argued against the scientific evidence for the role of human factors in global warming. He went on to state that it is not proven that the carbon dioxide which has been released into the atmosphere is responsible for the relatively small amount of warming that has taken place since industrialisation. These claims are incorrect.
Davies claimed that "in the 1970s, everyone was predicting a forthcoming ice age". A study of the peer-reviewed literature on climate change published between 1965 and 1979 found just seven articles suggesting that the world might be cooling, and 44 proposing that it was likely to get warmer. The "emphasis on greenhouse warming", it concludes, "dominated the scientific literature even then".
He also criticised the government’s approach to pursuing low carbon energy saying, “an unholy coalition of environmentalists working with big businesses have persuaded various British ministers to phase out cheap electricity from coal and gas and replace it with non-CO2 generating alternatives such as wind, solar and nuclear.”
During a parliament debate on climate change in 2015, Davies stated that there had only been a very minor increase in temperature over the last 250 years. This was claim was rejected as false by members of his own party.
Davies argued that temperature increases could be explained by the use of different thermometers during a political discussion on climate change in 2016. He stated that he thinks the level of global temperature increase that we are seeing is "perfectly possible to explain away, because we are not comparing "like with like". We are using slightly different temperature gauges, the areas in which we are using them have moved, some of the areas that they are in have changed over the years, and they can be subject to something called the urban heat island effect or to other natural factors. So there has not really been an increase since 1998."
In January 2010 he was criticised for referring to some communities as having imported "barbaric views on women". 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".
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. 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'.
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".
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. 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.
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” was rebutted in The Guardian and two separate articles by Dr Mark Elliot at the University of Cambridge, and by legal practitioner Adam Wagner. Wagner commented that Davies "does not understand the law." 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."
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". 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". The suggestion was also criticised by the British Association of Social Workers, and the test was also ruled out by the Home Office. 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." 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. 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.
In August 2017, Davies criticised a senior Met officer for suggesting police should prioritise non-English speaking victims of crime amongst other vulnerable groups for personal visits from officers. Davies described the suggestion as "appalling and discriminatory". Davies suggested that the police could save money by not paying for interpreters for non-English speaking victims of crime. When criticised, Davies responded by calling him a "moron" and a "leftie luvvie".
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."
Criticism of Velothon Wales
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.
In August 2011, Davies wrote about his experiences on riot duty and lamented that police were ordered not to go out alone in uniform due to the danger. Davies had to return from a short holiday for the recall of Parliament to discuss the riots across England and also served on 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.
In August 2019, Davies criticised the British band The 1975 for going on a world tour, labelling them hypocritical after producing a song about climate change.
Honours and awards
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal||2012|
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