Philip Davies shocks opponents with progressive position on proxy voting

Written by David Singleton on 29 January 2019 in Diary

Jo Swinson admitted that 'even a stopped clock is right twice a day'.

A couple of years ago, Conservative MP Philip Davies was polishing his credentials as a Commons dinasour by cosying up to the Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB) party, which has a not-so-distinguished track record of fighting against initiatives to improve gender diversity in the boardroom.

So what did progressive parliamentarians make of Davies tabling a surprise amendment extending proxy voting to women who have suffered miscarriages?

“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day,” a shocked Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson told the Commons. “So while I disagree with much of what he said, there are none the less some good suggestions for progress in some of the amendments he has tabled.”

The SNP’s Pete Wishart told colleagues: “I used to gently chide him when he was a new Member, calling him “Dinosaur Jr”. He is now a fully-fledged member of the dinosaur community, but his interest just goes to show that even dinosaurs may change their horns.”

As the Commons backed plans to allow MPs to vote by proxy, Davies’ wider point was that the reforms did not go far enough to treat MPs fairly. He asked: “Why is the primary carer of someone who is seriously ill less deserving of a proxy vote?" In comments that even his old J4MB mates might side with, he also stated: “We have to look at why fathers and mothers are being treated so differently.”

While some MPs took the opportunity to throw backhanded compliments at Davies, at least one former cabinet minister was a bit kinder. David Davis told MPs: “His concerns are not always popular in the House, but some of them are real.”

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