Having been put off Conservative Politics ‘for life’ after attending a Young Conservatives disco in his youth, Sir Ed Davey opted for the Liberal Democrats – becoming an economics researcher for Paddy Ashdown in his first job.
Eight years later, in the 1997 General Election, Davey narrowly won the seat of Kingston and Surbiton in South West London from the Conservative Party.
Following the creation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in 2010, Davey became a Junior Minister in the Business Department (2010-2012), before being promoted to the Cabinet where he served as Energy and Climate Change Secretary between 2012 and 2015.
At the 2015 election, Davey lost his seat, but after being re-elected as Liberal Democrat MP in 2017, he immediately began a campaign for Liberal Democrat leader. Although Sir Ed lost out to Jo Swinson on this occasion, he did eventually replace her, following her resignation in 2019.
Davey was first elected as the MP for Kingston and Surbiton in 1997 with a majority of just 56 votes. Davey soon became a Lib Dem spokesman on Treasury Affairs, adding the job of Whip in 1998 and Spokesman for London in 2000.
Following Nick Clegg’s election as party leader in 2007, Davey became the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.
In 2008, Davey was suspended from Parliament for a day after protesting about the exclusion of a Liberal Democrat motion to hold a referendum on staying in the EU. It was a call he was to return to, in different circumstances, a decade later.
As part of the new Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition of 2010, Davey was made a Business Minister. Davey held the post until 2012 when, following the resignation of disgraced Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne, Sir Ed became a Cabinet Minister as Energy and Climate Change Secretary.
In 2015, along with 48 other Liberal Democrat MPs, Davey lost his seat as the national party was punished by voters. However, Davey was re-elected for the same Kingston and Surbiton constituency in 2017.
At this time, he began a campaign for the Lib Dem leadership. Davey eventually came second to Jo Swinson in the contest of that year, winning the support of 36.9% of the Liberal Democrats membership.
Having lost her Parliamentary seat at the 2019 General Election, Swinson was forced by party rules to resign the party leadership causing Davey to take over as acting leader. Davey then won the subsequent 2020 Liberal Democrat leadership contest polling 63.5% of the total votes cast by Liberal Democrat members.
Taking over the Lib Dem leadership, Davey described the party’s message as one of ‘social justice, political reform, equality and protecting our environment’. The last of these is a particular passion of Davey’s and he has called himself a ‘zealot’ about tackling climate change.
Davey is also a strong supporter of the European Union and has regularly championed the benefits of free trade.
Upon re-entering Parliament in 2017, Davey marked himself out as an impassioned campaigner for a ‘People’s Vote’ and a second referendum on Brexit. Davey has though suggested that the Lib Dems will not campaign on a platform of reentering the EU at the next General Election.
Both Ed Davey’s parents died while he was young – his father, a solicitor, when Ed was four, and his mother, a teacher, when Ed was 15. Thereafter Ed lived with his maternal grandparents. He attended Nottingham High School (1974-84) where he was Head Boy in 1984.
Speaking of this childhood trauma later in life, Davey has commented on his role as a young carer, and how his parent’s deaths made him ‘quite strong’.
He achieved a First class honours degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Jesus College, Oxford University (1985-1988) where he was elected President of his College’s Junior Common Room. He was active in an environmental campaigning group.
How old is Ed Davey?
Sir Edward Jonathan Davey was born on the 25th of December 1965.
What did Ed Davey do before entering Politics?
After graduating from Oxford, Davey became an economics researcher for the Liberal Democrats, then led by Paddy Ashdown. At around this time, Davey says that MI6 tried to recruit him. Asked why he turned MI6 down, Davey told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire that ‘working for Paddy was pretty exciting – you never knew what he was going to do next’.
Is Ed Davey married?
Davey married former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, Emily Gasson, in 2005 and the pair have two children. Davey’s son has an undiagnosed neurological condition. Publicly reflecting on this, Davey has commented on how it has ‘shaped my views’ and helped him to understand disability a lot more.
In one of his first Prime Minister’s Questions sessions in 2020 after becoming Liberal Democrat Leader, Davey asked Boris Johnson to meet with him to discuss the protection of the rights of disabled people during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Things you may not know about Ed Davey
He been honoured by the British Transport Police
In 1994, before becoming an MP, Ed received awards from the Royal Humane Society and the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police for rescuing a woman from the path of an oncoming train at Clapham Junction.
He is multi-lingual
Ed speaks French, Spanish and German.
He supports Notts County
Sir Ed Davey supports Notts County FC, having chosen the Magpies’ strip in preference to that of Nottingham Forest when he was four. He also enjoys walking, cinema, music, squash and swimming.
Twitter Handle – @EdwardJDavey
Personal Website – https://www.eddavey.org