Tory minister defends missing Welsh Affairs meeting due to ‘illness’ then turning up to Commons
A Tory minister had defended missing a Welsh Affairs Committee meeting because he was “unwell”, and then turning up to the House of Commons.
David TC Davies, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Wales Office, was due to be quizzed by Welsh MPs about the benefits system at 10am this morning.
But when the time came, Stephen Crabb, the Chair of the Committee told MPs: “We were due to have David TC Davies from the Wales Office. Unfortunately Minister Davies is unwell.”
However, at 12pm, Davies was spotted in the House of Commons during a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, which saw Boris Johnson being grilled by MPs about No 10 staff holding a Christmas party amid lockdown restrictions last year, and then joking about it.
BBC journalist Elliw Gwawr who said she was scheduled to interview Davies later today spotted the Conservative minister in the chamber, and posted about it on social media.
In a statement in response, Davies said he finds it “very disappointing” that he has been “forced to discuss” his personal health “as a result” of her “comments”.
The Conservative MP for Monmouth said that he had to “run out of a meeting to be physically sick” yesterday, and that as a result he cancelled all his meetings for that day as well as for today.
He said that he “felt a lot better” and “well enough to go into work” this morning, adding that he is “currently in work but not undertaking major meetings”, and that he suspects he “probably had a case of food poisoning”.
Cornel top dde – wele David TC Davies oedd yn rhy sal i fynychu Pwyllgor Materion Cymreig y boer ma a rhy sal i wneud cyfweliad efo fi pnawn ma yn sefyll yn y siambr. pic.twitter.com/3ZG9fsRKkT
— Elliw Gwawr (@elliwsan) December 8, 2021
In a statement David TC Davies said: “Yesterday at 1100 I had to run out of a meeting to be physically sick. I was physically sick again on a further 2 occasions during the day. I took a covid test which was clear.
“I cancelled all meetings for yesterday, and today, including the Welsh Affairs Session. I was only playing a supporting role in the Welsh Affairs meeting as it was focused on DWP matters and was being led by another Minister.
“I returned to my hotel missing the last vote on the advice of the Deputy Chief Whip. This morning I woke up at around 0900. This is extremely unusual as I normally get up at 0630 and go to the gym.
“I felt a lot better. I felt well enough to go into work – although it was much later than usual. I attended PMQs and I am currently in work but not undertaking major meetings.
“I suspect that I probably had a case of food poisoning I do not like talking about personal matters and illnesses. I very rarely get ill as my record shows.
“Today as a result of comments by a BBC reporter I have been forced to discuss my personal health something which I find very disappointing.”
Elliw Gwawr tweeted a photo of Davies among a crowd of MPs, saying: “Top right corner – see David TC Davies who was too ill to attend the Welsh Affairs Committee this morning, and too ill to do an interview with me this afternoon standing in the chamber.”
She added: “According to the Wales Office David Davies has been ill with norovirus since yesterday. It looks like David TC Davies is well enough to be in the chamber for PMQs.”
The meeting of the Welsh Affairs Committee which Davies missed, was used to explore:
- The lessons learned during the pandemic and the changes made to benefits by the UK Government;
- The complexity of the different benefits and allowances available from the UK and Welsh Governments and local authorities;
- Levels of communication between the UK and Welsh Governments on the latter’s Universal Basic Income pilot scheme.