MP Glyn Davies reveals intention to stand down at next election
Montgomeryshire's MP Glyn Davies has revealed he will step down at the next election, speaking of his pride at helping his constituents, the impact of abuse and criticism on his family, and his shock at winning the seat in the first place.
The Conservative MP, who was elected in 2010, has also opened up on the effect Brexit and social media have had on politics, as his local association now begins the process of finding a replacement to contest the next general election.
Mr Davies, 75, who has held the seat for nine years, said one of the main reasons behind his decision was that he did not want to subject his family to the stress of another election campaign.
He said: "I only intended to do two terms. I was not going to fight the last election but it happened suddenly.
"I just genuinely think to fight three general elections, it is quite stressful, and I think fighting three is as much as I can put my family through.
"The pressure of a Westminster election and the abuse you take is a bit more. And it affects the whole family. I do not come from a political family, they are not used to the rough and tumble of politics."
The decision means Mr Davies, from Berriew, near Welshpool, will remain as MP until 2022, unless an election is called.
'Honour and privilege'
Mr Davies, who has been involved in Mid Wales politics since 1974, and was a member of the Welsh Assembly for eight years from 1999, has campaigned on Mid Wales health issues and successfully against plans for large scale wind farms and pylon routes across Montgomeryshire.
He said he was proud to have represented his home and to have turned what was a Liberal Democrat stronghold into a serial success for the Conservative Party.
He said: "To represent Montgomeryshire in the House of Commons is a great honour and privilege. Montgomeryshire is where I was born and have always lived. It’s my home and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
"I have successfully contested the last three General Elections, taking just over 40 per cent of the vote in 2010, 45 per cent in 2015 and almost 52 per cent in 2017. That’s a lot of stress over a long period. To secure a majority of 9,285 at the last Election was beyond my wildest expectations."
The Conservative was elected in 2010, beating Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik in one of the shocks of the election.
He managed to overturn the incumbent MP’s 7,000-vote majority and claim what had been a rock-solid Lib Dem stronghold.
“I was not just slightly surprised, I was totally shocked,” Mr Davies said. “I had no comprehension I could win that election.
“Some people thought I had a chance but I knew too much about politics and the numbers that were against me.
“You could see it was a shock to my opponent Lembit Opik. He was a friend of mine and I think there was a photo of us comforting each other in the town hall after the declaration, and that was a genuine moment.
“There was a personal element to that.
“You are in competition and you want to win so I was pleased to win, we all were, but I knew it was a complete change to my life.
“I was moving away from being a comfortably retired grandfather to becoming an MP who had to learn the ropes from scratch very quickly because we did not have a majority.”
Mr Davies said his greatest work as MP had been providing help to constituents with nowhere else to turn.
He said: “The biggest achievement is the stuff that never makes the papers.
“People come into my office with really serious complaints, and they do not know what to do, and they work with the staff to help them.”
Key issues he has faced include health reforms in Shropshire and Mid Wales, the Newtown bypass, and the prospect of multiple wind farms and a major pylon route across Montgomeryshire, but he said that the basics of constituency work had always been most important.
He said: “There are key issues like that but what is most satisfying to me is dealing with the issues of the people that come into my office in desperate need of help, but they are not the stories you make public.”
His decision was partly motivated by the stress of elections and the impact of politics on his family, but it also provides time for his local association to select a successor.
He said: “I know politics is a rough old game, and I am tough enough to take all the offence you get, that does not bother me in the least, but I have a family, a wife, children, grandchildren, and it bothers them, and they have not signed up for that.
“There comes a time when everyone should step down and I do not want to leave it to the last minute, I want to work with the local Conservative association to select a good candidate and then I want to help them become an MP.”
'I hate referendums'
Mr Davies, who has been a long-time supporter of leaving the EU, said Brexit has had a terrible impact on British politics.
He said: “Brexit has had a devastating effect on politics. I hate referendums and I hated this one, I hated the campaign, I did not want anything to do with them.”
He said he now hoped for a solution which would allow the country to move on.
He said: “We did what we did and we had a vote and we have to deliver it, and it is not so easy because a lot of MPs are not standing by what they promised.
“I am desperate to find a way to come out of this.
“I have been trying for the last six months, a lot of the time has been spent working with the chief whip and the Prime Minister’s office just to try and get this over the line.”
Mr Davies continued: “I just want a deal that is as positive as possible for our relationship with Europe, but I think we have to deliver a deal otherwise I see people’s confidence in the political process will be badly damaged.”
Mr Davies also said the effect of social media had distorted politics, and that he would be focussing on face-to-face community meetings for the remainder of his time as MP.
He said: “I think the focus of social media has diminished politics hugely. It has totally diminished it.
“Many people’s interests now are just a social media clip and and that supposedly gives an understanding of a complex issue.
“I think we do not have serious journalism like we used to. I just do not think we have the same connection with people on various issues.
“That is why for my last three years I intend to spend as much time as I can attending community meetings.”
Mr Davies thanked his staff and association for their support and said he would continue to serve his constituents as long as he remains in office.
He said: "Unlike many MPs and their respective associations, I have always enjoyed the support and friendship of the Montgomeryshire Association officers and members, even through the current Brexit turbulence. And I’ve had the professional support of Pam, James and Julie within my office who have helped with constituent’s problems and issues.
“The next General Election may not be held until 2022. I shall continue to do all I can to help constituents who come to my office for help, and continue to stand by commitments I’ve made when asking voters to support me.”
Commenting on Glyn’s decision to retire from the House of Commons, Montgomeryshire Conservative Association Chair Ruth Canning said: “Glyn has been an extraordinary MP, who through force of personality and by representing a major party, has in just a few years achieved an historic amount for Montgomeryshire.
“Glyn’s moderation, consideration and absence of party political rancour, have won him innumerable friends in Montgomeryshire and he was the very personification of the gentleness, approachability and steely determination of our great county.
“We wish Glyn and his supportive wife Bobbie, all the very best in their future life.”