Mr Davies – to whom we presented a ‘Winston’ yesterday – is just the sort of MP that most Conservative voters would like to represent them. He has solidly right-of-centre and meritocratic instincts, and his Wikipedia profile shows him to be fiercely independently-minded:
His support for meritocracy extends, we’re pleased to report, to the appointment of directors to major corporate boards. Last Thursday there was a short debate in the House of Commons concerning ‘Public Company Boards’, to which he contributed. Other than Philip, the other speakers in the debate exhibited the gender balance we’ve come to expect in this area:
Anne McIntosh (C)
Jo Swinson (LD)
Valierie Vaz (L)
Andrea Leadsom (C)
Alison Seabeck (L)
The contributions of the Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs were predictably woeful, and may be summarised as, ‘Blah, blah, blah’. I don’t know if Harriet Harman was in the chamber at the time, but if she was, she would have been very happy with what was said:
I’ll leave you with the final two exchanges of this depressing short debate. Our thanks to Philip for standing up for meritocracy.
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Rather than having politically correct targets, is it not better for companies in the private sector to decide for themselves who are the right people to be on their boards, irrespective of gender, race or religion? Should not all such appointments be made on merit, rather than trying to meet the politically correct targets that the Minister has referred to?
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire, Liberal Democrat)
It is always a delight to hear from my hon. Friend. He perhaps does not fully recognise the benefits that businesses gain from having more diversity on their boards. The fact that fewer than one in five board members are women shows that there is a wide talent pool out there that is not being drawn upon; businesses could benefit hugely from ensuring that those talents are used in their boardrooms.
Businesses would benefit hugely? Priceless. This is just the sort of claptrap we’ve heard from other Lib Dem MPs, most notably Vince Cable. The overwhelming evidence is that far from benefitting, businesses would experience a decline in their performance.