Philip Davies MP

24 Oct 2011 13:24:39

Ahead of this evening's debate, Tory MPs rehearse the arguments for and against a referendum

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

COMMONS-sittingThis evening's backbench debate and vote on the possibility of a referendum on the European Union has dominated today's political news. 

Conservative MPs, from both sides of the referendum argument, have been appearing in the media, and their words provide an insight into the possible themes of this evening's debate. 

Arguing against a referendum as described in tonight's debate motion:

  • Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe): "I believe that relationship has to change, and I believe Europe has to change. But we simply don’t know enough yet about what powers we could repatriate to this country, how the crisis in the eurozone would play. So it would be impossible to have a referendum, debate, and campaign until we understood those things."
  • GyimahSam Gyimah (East Surrey): "I think the big thing is, on an issue like this, how do you think about rebelling – I’m a relatively new MP, I got elected in 2010 – and what I look at is, is it a manifesto commitment, is it in the Coalition agreement, and where do your constituents stand. ... it’s very easy to rebel, saying that you’re speaking on behalf of your constituents, when maybe you’ve got 50 or so letters, and you’ve got to be careful you’re not speaking for the vocal minority, as opposed to the silent majority."
  • Richard Harrington (Watford): "I think it is really absurd that people should be spending their time now, when the Government hasn’t even entered into the negotiations that it intends to do, where there has been no movement towards the pulling back of powers and getting benefits out of Europe, whilst reducing the things that people quite legitimately don’t like. .. The reason I’m opposing this motion is nothing to do with what any whips have said, or what David Cameron has said. It’s because I firmly believe it’s a ludicrous motion and it needs voting down."

Continue reading "Ahead of this evening's debate, Tory MPs rehearse the arguments for and against a referendum" »

30 Jul 2011 10:54:05

Priti Patel, Philip Davies and Andrew Turner support Guido's campaign to bring back the death penalty

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

The blogger Guido Fawkes has launched a campaign to bring back the death penalty, in light of the government's proposed "e-petition" scheme. "E-petitions" mean members of the public can post petitions on a dedicated government website, and petitions attracting 100,000 electronic signatories will be "eligible for debate in the House of Commons".

The petition says:

"We petition the government to review all treaties and international commitments which may inhibit the ability of Parliament to restore capital punishment. Following this review, the Ministry of Justice should map out the necessary legislative steps which will be required to restore the death penalty for the murder of children and police officers when killed in the line of duty.

The findings of the review and the necessary substantive legislation to be presented to House of Commons for debate no later than 12 months after this petition passes the acceptance threshold."

Continue reading "Priti Patel, Philip Davies and Andrew Turner support Guido's campaign to bring back the death penalty" »

12 Jul 2011 08:32:49

29 32 Tory MPs rebel against Britain's £9.3 billion EXTRA contribution to IMF bailouts

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter. 

Last night at least 32 Tory MPs (listed below) voted with Labour against an 88% hike in Britain's contribution to the IMF. The hike is to partly fund the IMF's ability to fund bailouts. I write "at least" because I've only quickly scanned the voting list. Please email [email protected] if I've missed anyone off the list.

  1. Steve Baker
  2. Brian Binley
  3. Peter Bone
  4. Douglas Carswell
  5. Bill Cash
  6. Chris Chope
  7. James Clappison
  8. Philip Davies
  9. David Davis
  10. Zac Goldsmith
  11. James Gray (added at 9.30am)
  12. Gordon Henderson (added at 9.30am)
  13. Chris Kelly
  14. Edward Leigh
  15. Julian Lewis
  16. Anne Main
  17. Karl McCartney
  18. Nigel Mills (added at 11.30am)
  19. David Nuttall
  20. Matthew Offord
  21. Andrew Percy
  22. Mark Reckless
  23. John Redwood
  24. Simon Reevell
  25. Richard Shepherd
  26. Henry Smith
  27. Graham Stuart
  28. Peter Tapsell
  29. Andrew Turner
  30. Martin Vickers
  31. Charles Walker
  32. John Whittingdale

The Government won the vote to increase Britain's contribution from £10.7 billion to £20.15 billion by 274 votes to 246. This is the first time that the Labour frontbench has voted with Tory Eurosceptics. Labour was voting against an increase in the IMF subscription that was largely agreed during Gordon brown's time in office.

Redwood-on-NewsnightS On his blog John Redwood suggests that the 29 rebels are only one sign of Tory discontent. Given that there are more than 300 Tory MPs he calculates that AT LEAST 80 Conservatives were unavailable, abstained or voted against the government. He writes:

"Some of us want the UK government to use the influence it says it has at the IMF to halt the futile bail outs of Eurozone members. The debt markets show the markets do not believe that Greece can repay all its debts in full and on time. Yesterday was a day when market worries spread beyond Greece, Ireland and Portugal to Italy. Those in  charge of the Euro scheme need to get a grip. It is doing a great deal of financial and economic damage, and they no longer seem to be in control of their project. The IMF should decline to bail out rich countries that have shackled themselves to a currency scheme that was badly put together and needs a thorough re think."

Carswell Douglas Central Lobby 10.30am Douglas Carswell has just blogged this:

"The decision to raise our IMF subscriptions by 88 percent was first mooted when Gordon Brown was in charge – but was okayed by the current government last October.  While Canada, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium all managed to keep the increase in their subs low, whoever negotiated the deal on our behalf seems to have preferred to have UK taxpayers assume greater debt liabilities so that they could sit on a bigger chair at the various international summits they attend on our behalf. Alongside fiscal policy and monetary policy, our approach towards the bailouts and the IMF shows that there has been remarkably little change in economic policy at the Treasury since Gordon Brown was in charge." 

More from Douglas Carswell.

5 Jul 2011 08:30:46

Conservative MPs rebelling more against Cameron than Major

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter.

Over on the NottsPolitics blog Professor Philip Cowley underlines the rebelliousness of backbench Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs since the formation of the Coalition. This graph confirms that this is the most rebellious intake since the second world war:

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 08.20.20

Cowley notes:

  • "Backbench dissent amongst government MPs is running at a historically high level – with a rebellion in almost one in every two votes in the Commons...
  • This is especially striking once you remember that this is a first session (normally relatively quiet) and even more so once you realise that this is a first session after a change of government (normally extremely quiet)...
  • The rate [of rebellion] for Conservative MPs alone is higher than in any first session since the war, including that of John Major in 1992, when he faced all the Maastricht rebellions...
  • The rates of rebellion are themselves very high: Philip Hollobone in particular is rebelling at a rate of roughly one rebellion in every four votes.  This is much higher than, say, Jeremy Corbyn under Blair or Brown..."

Jonathan Isaby has produced his own list of top rebels. Professor Cowley has done the same:

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 08.20.37

Read Cowley's full blog.

23 Jun 2011 08:11:55

Philip Davies leads the charge against a ban on smoking in cars

By Jonathan Isaby
Follow Jonathan on Twitter

Labour MP Alex Cunningham yesterday presented a ten-minute rule bill to ban people from smoking in private vehicles where there are children present.

He argued that children are are at particular risk from passive smoking, the public favour such as ban as he proposes and that MPs ought to support his bill to protect the health of children.

Philip Davies 2011 But Philip Davies, fresh from his controversial remarks about the minimum wage last week, rose to oppose the proposal. He explained:

"My opposition to the Bill is not based on self-interest: I do not smoke, I have never smoked and I am unlikely ever to start smoking. In fact, as it happens, I do not actually enjoy going into smoky places. However, many of my hon. Friends might not be surprised to see me here today, because I also voted against the smoking ban in 2006. My opposition to this Bill is similar to my opposition to the original ban, and is threefold: first, it is rooted in my strong belief in freedom; secondly, it is rooted in my belief in parental responsibility for bringing up children; and thirdly it is based on the complete lack of evidence surrounding the proposal. I am not surprised that the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) is continuing to champion the extension of the nanny state into every aspect of the British public’s lives, because it is something that the Labour party excelled at during its time in office, and is still trying to do today. The proposal is excessive, intrusive and insulting to British parents who smoke.

"In England, smoking has already been banned in a vehicle unless it is used primarily for private purposes by a person who owns it or has the right to use it, or is used at work by only one person or has an open cab. The suggestion of banning smoking in private vehicles while a minor is present is yet another unwarranted intrusion on individual freedom. The Government should have no role in regulating the private lives of adults making decisions as adults. Adults should be free to smoke in a private vehicle providing they do not light up or smoke in a way that distracts from safe driving. Of course adults should show courtesy to others in a private vehicle, but that does not require the nanny-state legislation proposed by the hon. Gentleman.

"I would like to know how the hon. Gentleman would implement and enforce his proposal. Perhaps he envisages a scenario where children go around informing the authorities that their parents might have broken the law. Given that the Labour party is so upset about cuts to the police budget, does he really think that the police should be taking time out from catching burglars, rapists and other serious offenders to go around stopping cars to see whether anyone might have smoked in them while a child was on board? Does he think it a serious enough matter for the police to concentrate on? I presume that he would also like cars to go around with tinted windscreens, which might be the only upshot of his proposal. The whole thing is completely ludicrous.

Continue reading "Philip Davies leads the charge against a ban on smoking in cars" »

17 Jun 2011 17:47:19

Philip Davies stands by his view that those with disabilities might be more able to get a job by working for less than the minimum wage

Philip Davies 2011 By Jonathan Isaby
Follow Jonathan on Twitter

This morning saw the Second Reading of Christopher Chope's Private Member's Bill, the Employment Opportunities Bill, which would allow "freely consenting adults" to opt out of the minimum wage.

During his speech in the debate, Shipley's Tory Philip Davies - never one to say the politically correct thing or to to duck away from controversy - suggested that the minimum wage was making it harder for some of the most vulnerable people in society to get a job and backed the position that anybody should be free (though not forced) to work for less than the minimum wage.

He told the Commons: 

I went to visit a charity called Mind in Bradford a few years ago. One of the great scandals that the Labour party would like to sweep under the carpet is that in this country only about 16%—I stand to be corrected on the figure—of people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities have a job. The others are unemployed, but why is that?

I spoke to people at Mind who were using the service offered by that charity, and they were completely up front with me about things. They described what would happen when someone with mental health problems went for a job and other people without these problems had also applied. They asked me, “Who would you take on?” They accepted that it was inevitable that the employer would take on the person who had no mental health problems, as all would have to be paid the same rate.

Given that some of those people with a learning disability cannot, by definition, be as productive in their work as someone who does not have a disability of that nature, and given that the employer would have to pay the two people the same, it was inevitable that the employer would take on the person who was going to be more productive and less of a risk. The situation was doing the people with learning difficulties a huge disservice.

As I said at the start of my remarks, the national minimum wage has been of great benefit to lots of low-paid people. However, if the Labour party is not even prepared to accept that the minimum wage is making it harder for some of those vulnerable people to get on the first rung of the jobs ladder, we will never get anywhere in trying to help these people into employment.

Continue reading "Philip Davies stands by his view that those with disabilities might be more able to get a job by working for less than the minimum wage" »

24 May 2011 17:25:53

Philip and David Davies lambast the Government over its law and order policies

By Jonathan Isaby
Follow Jonathan on Twitter

Yesterday saw two Opposition debates relating to law and order, which included speeches highly critical of the Government from two (unrelated) Conservative backbenchers by the name of Davies.

The first debate was on a simple Labour motion stating "that this House opposes changing the maximum discount for custodial sentences to up to 50% for those who plead guilty."

Philip Davies 2011 Justice Secretary Ken Clarke found himself the target of the speech delivered by Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley:

"As a Government Member I do not particularly enjoy voting in favour of Opposition day motions. However, the Justice Secretary’s recent proposals are simply unacceptable to the majority of my constituents and the British public as a whole... It is astonishing that some of our hon. Friends, who were happy to enter the election promising to send more criminals to prison, and to put in place longer sentences and honesty in sentences, are now advocating sending fewer people to prison for a shorter time. I did not tell that to my constituents when I stood in the election."

"The Secretary of State made it clear that as a result of the proposal fewer people would be in prison. That is the whole purpose of the measure. My hon. Friend ought to reflect on the fact that this is an arbitrary proposal, because there is absolutely no evidence suggesting that more people will plead guilty as a result. If that does not happen, will the Secretary of State return to the House in a few months suggesting a three-quarters discount for pleading guilty in order to get a few more convictions? Where will it end? Why not scrap prison sentences altogether? This is a slippery slope. It is ludicrous and not based in evidence."

"People keep telling me that Scandinavian countries are marvellous when it comes to these things, so I went to Denmark to see at first hand what they did. One thing that never seems to come out is that in Denmark, people are not automatically released halfway through their sentences. They are released only if they behave well; and in fact, 30% of prisoners in Danish prisons serve their full sentences because they are not deemed safe to release from prison early. Those are the things that the Secretary of State should be looking at, not trying to have people serve lower sentences in the first place. Indeed, it is his proposals that are causing the British public to lose confidence in the British criminal justice system and in this place."

"These proposals have to go. I very much fear that if the Secretary of State does not listen to the widespread opposition to these plans, then for us to restore our reputation as a party of law and order, he will have to go as well."

Continue reading "Philip and David Davies lambast the Government over its law and order policies" »

3 Apr 2011 12:49:54

Tory MPs Sarah Wollaston and Philip Davies argue over whether to introduce further restrictions on the advertising of alcohol

By Jonathan Isaby

A Ten-Minute Rule Bill was introduced on Wednesday by Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who has represented Totnes since last year's general election, which would place new restrictions on how alcohol can be marketed in order to reduce children's exposure to such advertising.

Sarah Wollaston Commons She explained:

"Youth culture is heavily influenced by marketing and our children are saturated by alcohol advertising. Despite the clear evidence of harm - only Denmark and the Isle of Man have higher levels of binge drinking and drunkenness in their schoolchildren - the European school survey demonstrated that our children have the most positive expectations of alcohol of any children in Europe and were the least likely to feel that it might cause them harm.

"Where do those positive expectations come from? Let us just look at the scale of marketing in the UK. The estimated spend on alcohol marketing is around £800 million, compared with the Drinkaware trust's funding by the industry of just £2.6 million. When £307 is spent encouraging drinking for every pound spent promoting sensible behaviour, the results are predictable. The World Health Organisation hit the nail on the head when it  said: "In such a profoundly pro-drinking environment, health education becomes futile."

Continue reading "Tory MPs Sarah Wollaston and Philip Davies argue over whether to introduce further restrictions on the advertising of alcohol" »

9 Dec 2010 18:43:11

A full breakdown of who voted which way and who rebelled in tonight's votes

By Jonathan Isaby

Both divisions tonight - on increasing the upper tuition fees limit to £9,000 and on raising the cap on basic tuition fees to £6,000 - saw identical results: 323 votes in favour and 302 votes against.

Factoring in two tellers from each side, you had 325 MPs backing the Government line and 304 opposing it, meaning that 629 out of a possible 640 MPs participated in the divisions (the remaining ten are accounted for by the 5 Sinn Fein MPs, the Speaker, 3 Deputy Speakers and the vacancy in Oldham East and Saddleworth).

So who voted which way?


297 of the 305 Conservative MPs, comprising:

  • All 77 Ministers and Whips
  • 39 PPSs (no longer including Lee Scott, who resigned to abstain)
  • 181 of the 189 backbenchers

Liberal Democrats
28 of the 57 Lib Dem MPs, comprising:

  • 17 of the 18 Ministers and Whips (Chris Huhne being at the conference in Cancun)
  • The 3 remaining PPSs (no longer including Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott, who resigned to vote against)
  • 8 of the 36 backbenchers (namely: Sir Alan Beith, Tom Brake, Malcolm Bruce, Don Foster, Stephen Gilbert, John Hemming, David Laws and David Ward)


  • 6 Conservative MPs (namely: Philip Davies, David Davis, Julian Lewis, Jason McCartney, Andrew Percy and Mark Reckless)
  •  21 Liberal Democrat MPs (namely: Annette Brooke, Sir Menzies Campbell, Mike Crockart, Tim Farron, Andrew George, Mike Hancock, Julian Huppert, Charles Kennedy, John Leech, Stephen Lloyd, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Alan Reid, Dan Rogerson, Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Ian Swales, Mark Williams, Roger WIlliams, Jenny Willott, Simon Wright)
  • All 253 Labour MPs
  • 7 of the 8 DUP MPs
  • All 6 SNP MPs
  • All 3 Plaid Cymru MPs
  • All 3 SDLP MPs
  • The 1 Alliance MP
  • The 1 Green MP
  • All 3 Independent MPs


  • 2 Conservative MPs (namely: Tracey Crouch and Lee Scott)
  • 8 Liberal Democrat MPs (namely: Loreley Burt, Martin Horwood, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne, Tessa Munt, Sir Robert Smith, John Thurso, Stephen Williams)
  • 1 DUP MP (William McCrea)

Of the six Tory rebels, most have quite a lot of "form" when it comes to walking through the lobbies against the Government line:

  • Philip Davies - Tonight's rebellions were his 26th and 27th rebellious votes
  • David Davis - Tonight's rebellions were his 13th and 14th rebellious votes
  • Julian Lewis - Tonight's rebellions were his 11th and 12th rebellious votes
  • Andrew Percy - Tonight's rebellions were his 13th and 14th rebellious votes
  • Jason McCartney - Tonight's rebellions were his 4th and 5th rebellious votes
  • Mark Reckless - Tonight's rebellions were his 11th and 12th rebellious votes

Of the two Tory abstainers, as a PPS until yesterday, Lee Scott, has no history of rebellion; meanwhile, Tracey Crouch, who also abstained, has still never actively voted in a division lobby against the government line.

8 Dec 2010 06:26:31

Ken Clarke's Criminal Justice Green Paper gets a mixed reaction from Tory backbenchers

By Jonathan Isaby

Yesterday Justice Secretary Ken Clarke presented his Green Paper on Criminal Justice, “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders”. ConHome has already covered some of the announcements contained therein here and here, but here are some of the highlights of what Mr Clarke said in presenting the Green Paper to the Commons and the reaction he got from Tory backbenchers.

Ken Clarke pointing Mr Clarke told the Commons:

"Of course, criminals must face robust and demanding punishments. This means making them work hard both in prison and in the community. More prisoners will face the tough discipline of regular working hours. This has been lacking in most prison regimes for too long. Community sentences will be more credible, with more demanding work and greater use of tough curfew requirements. There will be greater reparation to victims through increased use of restorative justice and by implementing the Prisoners’ Earnings Act 1996. We will bring forward other changes to make sure that more offenders directly compensate the victims of crime.

"But we will take a new approach to the reform of offenders. I regard prison first and foremost as a place of punishment where people lose their liberty as reparation for what they have done, but on top of that, prison cannot continue to be simply an expensive way of giving communities a break. We must give higher priority to ensuring that more prisoners go straight on release.

"Offenders will face a tough and co-ordinated response from the police, probation and other services. It will mean that they must either address the problems that fuel their criminal activity or be caught and punished again."

"The sentencing framework must provide courts with a range of options to punish and rehabilitate criminals and keep the public safe. The sentencing framework has developed in an ad hoc fashion recently, with over 20 Acts of Parliament changing sentencing in the past 10 years. This has left it overly complex, difficult to interpret and administer, and hard for the public to understand. We need to make better use of prison and community sentences to punish offenders and improve public safety, while ensuring that sentencing supports our aims of improved rehabilitation and increased reparation to victims and society. We will therefore simplify the sentencing framework in order to make it more comprehensible to the public and to enhance judicial independence. We will reform community orders to give providers more discretion, and we will encourage greater use of financial penalties and improve their collection."

"Let me assure the House that public safety remains our first priority. We will continue to ensure that serious and dangerous offenders are managed effectively and their risk is reduced through appropriate use of prison and then through the multi-agency public protection arrangements... Any adult who commits a crime using a knife can expect to be sent to prison, and serious offenders can expect a long sentence. For juveniles, imprisonment is always available and will also be appropriate for serious offenders."

There were some voices of considerable scepticism from some Tory MPs sitting behind him:


Continue reading "Ken Clarke's Criminal Justice Green Paper gets a mixed reaction from Tory backbenchers" »

27 Oct 2010 17:47:34

Treasury minister Mark Hoban insists the UK is exempt from the EU economic governance regime

By Jonathan Isaby

Further to my report earlier and that of Lee Rotherham on Monday about Herman Van Rompuy's Task Force on EU Economic Governance, Treasury MInister Mark Hoban came to the Commons this afternoon to answer an Urgent Question from Bill Cash on the issue.

Mr Hoban said:

"The report concludes that the EU should take steps to reinforce fiscal discipline and that the euro area in particular must face tougher surveillance of its fiscal policies, with sanctions for non-compliance with the pact where appropriate. It also recommends measures to improve EU-level co-ordination of macro-economic policies. That will ensure that any harmful macro-economic imbalances between member states can be identified and corrective action taken. Finally, the report notes that there should be a permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the euro area. The UK supports its conclusions.

"A strong and stable euro area is firmly in the UK’s own economic interests, given the high level of UK exports to those countries and our close economic ties. In the years before the crisis, fiscal discipline was absent, and not just in states in the eurozone. High levels of debt have exacerbated the problems that some member states face during the economic downturn. The taskforce recommends that there should be greater focus on member states’ public debt levels in future, and the Government agree with that approach.

"I am pleased to note that the report explicitly states that sanctions cannot be applied to the UK under the stability and growth pact. Domestic fiscal frameworks play a crucial role in ensuring that member states act responsibly. EU surveillance is useful, but as the House knows, national Parliaments and national institutions must hold Governments to account for their economic and budgetary policies."

"The UK’s exemption from the sanctions proposal will be explicit, and there will be no shift of sovereignty from Westminster to Brussels. The report makes that clear, agreeing that “strengthened enforcement measures need to be implemented for all EU Member States, except the UK as a consequence of Protocol 15 of the Treaty”.

Bill Cash was not persuaded by the minister's claim:

"Unfortunately, the explanation that we have just heard from the Minister does not answer all the questions that arise in this matter. In particular, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was on the taskforce, and the Council’s recommendation is that these moves should strengthen economic governance “in the EU and the euro area”, in other words not excluding the UK, “and can be implemented within the existing Treaties.”

But Mr Hoban re-iterated:

"The language in the taskforce report guaranteed that sanctions would not apply to the UK. Paragraph 18 of the taskforce report refers “to the specific situation of the UK in relation to Protocol 15 of the Treaties.” In addition, paragraph 4 states that the measures set out in the taskforce report can be implemented through “EU secondary legislation…within the existing legal framework of the European Union”, so nothing in the report requires a treaty change. I am aware that France and Germany have suggested that there may be treaty changes, but we have yet to see the details of such proposals, which would be made to the European Council at the weekend."

Putative treaty changes were also raised by Peter Lilley:

"Can the Minister confirm that even if the proposed treaty concerns only and exclusively the member states of the eurozone, it would still require the support of the British Government to go ahead? Can he assure me that that support will not be given without obtaining concessions in return, such as the return of powers to this country that were unnecessarily given? Can he assure me that we will not give that support without demanding a price? This is the ideal opportunity to obtain that price."

Mr Hoban replied:

"My right hon. Friend makes an important point, but I would point out to him that, at the moment, there are no proposed treaty changes on the table. That may happen at the European Council next weekend, and we should respond to those treaty changes as they arise. However, I go back to the comments that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made: we will not agree to any changes to EU treaties that move more powers from this country to the EU."

Further notes of scepticism were raised by several other Tory backbenchers:

Douglas Carswell: In June, Ministers made a big deal of the fact that the UK Budget would not need to be submitted to EU institutions before it was brought to the House of Commons. Will the Minister confirm that, in fact, the UK pre-Budget report data are part of the European semester process, and that, while we might be exempt from sanctions, we are part of that surveillance? Will he be honest and admit that we are part of the EU fiscal scrutiny process?

Mr Hoban: I believe that this Parliament should hear news about this country’s finances before the EU does. We have secured that situation and that was the right thing to do.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: The Minister has drawn our attention to paragraph 18 of the report. I am curious about paragraph 16, which refers to “New reputational and political measures”, including the threat of “enhanced surveillance”. Would the British fiscal position be subject to enhanced surveillance in certain circumstances, and what would that mean?

Mr Hoban: I take the view that the measures that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has announced in relation to strengthening the fiscal framework, and the consolidation that he announced last week, will ensure that we will not be subject to any surveillance whatever.

Philip Davies: Whenever the Minister defends this country from a power grab and a cash grab by the European Union, he will have the enthusiastic support of Members on these Benches. Some of us are rather nervous, however, because when the Conservatives were in opposition, they opposed the European External Action Service, yet they sang its praises when introducing it in the House not long ago. They also opposed giving more money to the European Union, yet they recently rubber-stamped an increase through this House that had been agreed by the previous Government. Does the Minister agree that his Government should be judged on what they do, and not on what they say?

Mr Hoban: Absolutely. That is why I would encourage my hon. Friend to read this document. He will see the gains that we have managed to secure in Europe to defend our position.

21 Jul 2010 19:51:33

Shock! Horror! Conservative MP suggests an end to whipping

By Paul Goodman

Steve Baker I've just caught up with the following exchange during yesterday evening's debate on whether or not the Youth Parliament should be allowed to sit in the Commons Chamber once a year.  It took place between the excellent Steve Baker, one of ConservativeHome's CentreRight contributors and my successor as MP for Wycombe, and Philip Davies, the independent-minded MP for Shipley, and went as follows.

Baker asked Davies -

"Also, does he agree that this is possibly the most vibrant, passionate and sincere debate we have had in this Parliament, and that that is, perhaps, a case for ending the system of whipping?"

- to which Davies replied -

"I am sure my hon. Friend's comments will have been noted diligently by the Whip on duty, my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr Goodwill). Some of us in this House believe that all votes are free votes really, and that, at the end of the day, Members can vote entirely as they please. They might want to take heed of what the Whips are encouraging them to do, however, as I must say to my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Steve Baker) that usually their advice is very sound, but occasionally it is not, and I suspect that on this issue it may not be quite as sound as it usually is.

"I am sure my hon. Friend's suggested innovation will be taken seriously by my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Robert Goodwill). Indeed, he is sitting in his position on the Front Bench and writing diligently as I speak, so I think the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe has gone in the book. I wish him well for his future career, but I fear it may be as elevated as mine."

It almost goes without saying that Baker's no less a supporter of the Government in the Commons than any of his Conservative colleagues.  But this may be the first time that a Tory MP's suggested that there's a case for whipping to be ended, and ConservativeHome should mark the occasion for posterity.

7 Jul 2010 06:55:46

Philip Davies and Caroline Flint form unlikely alliance (in favour of CCTV)

Highlights from yesterday's Westminster Hall debate, led by Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies:

Cctv.jpgCCTV should not be included in the list of the last government's authoritarian measures: "The last Government were one of the most authoritarian, intolerant and illiberal Governments that the country has ever seen, so I certainly do not support some of the measures they introduced. I consider measures such as identity cards and the ability to lock people up without charge, potentially for 90 days, to be authoritarian The police asking to see one’s papers is something one would expect to see in an authoritarian state; that would impinge on my individual freedom. However, CCTV cameras being installed on a particular street and forensic laboratories holding my DNA do not in any way impinge on my freedoms."

CCTV is about civil protection: "It seems to me that the word “protection” is often missed out when people quote about civil liberties. I believe that one of my civil liberties is to walk down the street safely without being the victim of a serious crime. If DNA and CCTV means that more rapists, murderers and muggers are in prison, that enhances my freedoms rather than diminishing them."

CCTV helps solve murder cases: "A Scotland Yard study into the effectiveness of surveillance cameras revealed that almost every Scotland Yard murder inquiry uses CCTV footage as evidence. In 90 murder cases over one year, CCTV footage was used in 86 of the investigations, and senior officers said that it helped in of the 65 cases by capturing the murderer on film or the movements of suspects before or after an attack. Scotland Yard’s head of homicide, Simon Foy, said: “CCTV plays a huge role in helping us investigate serious crime. I hope people can understand how important it is to our success in catching people who commit murder.”"

CCTV is cost-effective: "The average running cost of a CCTV system with 150 cameras is about £320,000 a year, and on average 3,000 events are monitored every year by each system, giving an average cost of about £100 per incident. It seems to me that that is good value for money in this age of austerity. It seems even better value when we consider that a 12-month experimental study in Burnley showed a 28% reduction in crime in an area with CCTV, compared to a 10% increase in crime in an area that relied solely on policing."

CCTV is popular with the public: "Of those surveyed for a 2005 Home Office report into public attitudes towards CCTV, 82% either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Overall, the advantages of CCTV outweigh the disadvantages.” I do lots of surveys in my constituency, and fear of crime is always the top issue, whatever else is in the news. It seems, therefore, that the public, once again, are streets ahead of politicians in recognising the importance of these crime-fighting capabilities."

Caroline Flint for Labour then spoke, agreeing with Philip Davies. She gave a number of examples of effective use of CCT including this one:

"CCTV has contributed to people’s sense of personal safety. In Doncaster, CCTV cameras at the taxi cab ranks in the town centre have undoubtedly helped to solve crimes. I know of one case where some young men waiting in a queue for a taxi were attacked by some other young men. Before the victims had rung the police to inform them of the attack, the police had already seen it on camera and, by tracking the offenders by camera through Doncaster, they picked up the culprits before the victims got to the police station. That is a good example, showing how effectively CCTV can work."

Tim Montgomerie

> Related links: 'Big Brother Is Watching' by Alex Deane and A defence of CCTV from Gavin Barwell

30 Jun 2010 07:29:55

The voice of the anti-EU Tory Right will be heard on the influential new Backbench Business Committee

One of the innovations in this new Parliament is the creation of a BackBench Business Committee which is gaining the power from the Establishment to determine the backbencher-initiated business in the Commons chamber and Westminster Hall.

Last week Labour MP Natascha Engel beat Tory MP and former Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst by 202 votes to 173 to chair the new committee.

Yesterday the names of the remaining members emerged and it is notable that the eurosceptic Tory Right is more than amply represented in the form of Peter Bone, Philip Davies and Philip Hollobone. They are joined by Jane Ellison from the 2010 intake.

Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming will be the Lib Dem on the committee, whilst David Anderson and Alison Seabeck will be the other Labour MPs on the committee.

Jonathan Isaby

26 Nov 2009 07:21:27

Philip Davies MP warns that English (not Scottish) anger is greater threat to UK

DAVIES Philip Philip Davies MP: "The biggest threat to the UK does not come from Scotland, but from England. If the Secretary of State does not do something to stop Scottish MPs voting on legislation that applies only to England whereas English MPs have no decision-making influence on Scotland, or something to make the funding formula fairer to England, the threat to the UK will come from England."

Jim Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Scotland: "Knowing the hon. Gentleman as I do, when he talked about the threat to the Union, I expected him to say that it came from the European Union. People across the UK know about our shared heritage. We share these islands and we have so much in common. We are fiercely defensive and supportive of each other. We have together achieved so much over the decades and I believe that our strongest and best days lie ahead of us. We need to ensure that the Scottish Parliament has additional powers, but I hope that his constituents will be reassured by the fact that this is not about additional money for the Scottish Government. It is about additional accountability and the holding to account by the people of Scotland of the Scottish Government not only for what they spend, but for how the money is raised. That is an important constitutional innovation."

> Yesterday on the Parliament blog: David Mundell broadly welcomes proposals for devolution of further powers to Scotland