MP Glyn Davies explains decision to end tenure
MP Glyn Davies has lifted the lid on his concerns over Brexit, his achievements as an MP, and his shock at winning the seat in the first place.
Mr Davies, who lives in Berriew, near Welshpool, is to end his tenure as Montgomeryshire MP because he does not want to fight a fourth General Election.
It means he could remain in post until 2022 under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, but if an election is called before that date then his name will not be on the ballot paper.
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 – despite that being an election in which the yellow rosette-party thrived on the back of leader Nick Clegg’s strong performance in television debates.
“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.”
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, who had previously been a Welsh Assembly Member, 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.”