Wednesday, May 11, 2005

2003 Grauniad DD profile

Just before the 2003 Howard coronation, the Guardian profiled DD.

'He was once described in the Daily Telegraph as having the "profile of a rugby forward and the aggression of Schwarzenegger".

In life outside Westminster he is an action man, going for long treks across the wilderness and enjoying parachuting and skydiving.

A working class Jewish boy [a Gruaniad gaff later retracted] made good and brought up on a council estate, he is best remembered for the way he handled the Maastricht rebels - attending their meetings and acting as "enforcer" for the Tory whip Richard Ryder as John Major faced down the "bastards" over Europe.

Mr Davis is known as a man who does not suffer fools gladly nor is he impressed by status or money - he once refused to help out one of the most powerful Tory donors, Lord Ashcroft, when he was running into the first of a series of problems over his business interests in Belize.

He built up a tough reputation in opposition as chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, challenging Whitehall waste and pressing bureaucrats to admit their own errors.
He also insisted that leading executives from the private sector should be summoned to appear before his committee when they were partly responsible for gaffes such as the one in 1999 that left thousands of people without passports. He is an instinctive rightwinger and a Eurosceptic - but his belief in merit often overrides any ideological stance.


It is reputed that in his short stint as Tory party chairman, before he was removed by Iain Duncan Smith, he approved more gay and closet gay Tory parliamentary candidates than anyone else, despite voting against lowering the age of homosexual consent from 18 to 16. His business background led him to bring in Sir Stanley Kalms, the head of the megastore group, Dixons, to revitalise the party 's finances.

Mr Davis is also a keen moderniser and real believer in hi tech solutions to problems - and has a penchant for thinking up eye-catching websites, which were a feature of his - albeit none too successful - leadership bid two years ago: he came joint last with Michael Ancram.

He is, above all, a loyalist, and would have expected loyalty and discipline from the rest of the party had he been elected leader. So he would hardly have been the favourite among those who prefer long lunches and boardroom perks to spending time in parliament to challenge Labour.'
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