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Former AM and MP Byron Davies becomes a Lord

THE son of a policeman who grew up in Port Eynon will formally take the title of Lord Davies of Gower this week and said he felt the House of Lords was misunderstood.

Byron Davies was elevated to the peerage by former Prime Minister Theresa May and will take his seat in the House of Lords on Thursday, October 17.

Mr Davies served in the Metropolitan Police before becoming a Welsh Conservative Assembly Member in 2011.

He then snatched the Gower MP constituency from Labour in the 2015 general election by just 27 votes but lost the seat two years later to Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi.

He described the life peerage as an honour “not just for myself but for Gower as well”, and vowed to promote the area’s interests in his new role.

“Being the MP for Gower was the greatest honour and privilege of my life,” he said. “It is a very special place that deserves the very best of representation in both Houses of Parliament.”

He will sit for four days a week in the House of Lords, and continue being chairman of the Welsh Conservatives.

The 67-year-old, who used to live in Penclawdd but now has a base in Gowerton, said: “People have a completely wrong view about the House of Lords.

“It’s a hugely important part of Parliament in terms of scrutiny.

“You get good legislation in Westminster simply because of scrutiny.”

He felt this was not always the case in the Senedd, partly because of the volume of work committees have to carry out.

Mr Davies accepted there was of criticism of the non-elected route to the Lords, but said there were fewer hereditary peers now than in the past.

Peers don’t receive a salary, generally speaking, but can claim a daily attendance allowance of £305 or £153 – plus travel expenses. Or they can choose not to claim.

Mr Davies said: “I shall cover my costs.”

In a blog last year, the former Met Police detective chief inspector explained how he had taken legal action against someone identifying as a Jeremy Corbyn supporter for defamatory comments on social media in the run-up to the 2017 general election.

Mr Davies said this legal action had been expensive and time-consuming, but had resulted in an apology and a financial penalty which would be given to charity.

Reflecting on the episode, he said he was determined to make a stand.

He said: “Politics has changed in the last two or three years.”

Like other elected officials, Mr Davies said he had even received a couple of death threats.

“If that puts young people off from standing (for office) I think that’s a sad, sad day,” he said.

In the wake of his electoral success of 2015 – the first time Gower had voted Conservative in more than a century – Mr Davies said he was looking forward to the EU referendum promised by the then PM, David Cameron.

He said he remembered those words now.

“The reason I said that was because there so much uprising from people who wanted to get out of the EU,” he said.

“I was looking forward to it (the referendum) so we could have an easy settlement.

“It has become a really divisive issue among the country and among members of Parliament.

“My view is that we have got to a stage where we have to negotiate some form of a deal.

“If not, there is no going back. A second referendum? That’s not what we do.”

Mr Davies, who attended Knelston Primary School and the former Gowerton Boys Grammar School, said he would bring life experience to the House of Lords.

“I had a very simple upbringing in Port Eynon,” he said. “My dad thought I was mad to run for MP! My parents would be amazingly proud.”

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