Clinton Davies Obituary, Death – Lord Clinton-Davis was a Left-wing solicitor who served as a junior minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, was European Commissioner for the environment and transport, and returned to office at the age of 68 during Tony Blair’s first year in power. He died at the age of 94. Stanley Clinton Davis was a human liberties activist and former member of the British Jewish Board of Deputies. However, his Commons career was cut short when party enthusiasts avenged his vote for Denis Healey in the 1981 deputy leadership election, when Tony Benn’s bid was narrowly lost.
When his Hackney Central constituency vanished two years later, he was denied either of the borough’s remaining seats. When Margaret Thatcher refused to let Neil Kinnock renominate Ivor Richard as a Labour European commissioner, Clinton-Davis’s absence from Parliament worked in his advantage. He displayed dynamism and expertise in Brussels by attempting to present the European Commission with a comprehensive environmental policy based on the “polluter pays” idea.
His interest in the subject was sparked in 1978, when he was assigned to the Channel Islands to oversee the clean-up following the sinking of the supertanker Amoco Cadiz off the coast of Brittany. The devastation to marine life left an indelible impact on him, and he was serious in his condemnation of the French authorities’ slow response. Clinton Davis resumed to his law practice, but in 1984, he was suddenly appointed to work alongside Lord Cockfield in Brussels. He handled his second-rank portfolio so well that when responsibilities were trimmed a year later to accommodate commissioners from Spain and Portugal, he kept them all.
He clashed with the British government over Sellafield radioactive discharges and acid rain, and he scolded the Kremlin for failing to recognize the magnitude of the Chernobyl disaster. He began to address the exorbitant costs levied by flag carriers on short-haul routes, and he campaigned for a free market in road transportation until Germany stopped him. In 1988, Neil Kinnock planned to renominate him, but Mrs. Thatcher overruled him once more, and the Labour leader chose Bruce Millan instead. Clinton Davis signed off on a letter condemning Thatcher’s record on the environment.
He went home in early 1989, having received Europe’s first Medal for Outstanding Services to Animal Welfare for his efforts to end the trade in ivory and seal skins. The Belgian government awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold II, a rare honor for a British commissioner. Clinton Davis returned to semi-political participation as chairman of the Refugee Council and a council member of the British Maritime League after working as a European affairs and legislative consultant for the law firm SJ Berwin.
He was made a life peer in 1990 and appointed Opposition transport spokesman in the House of Lords. He achieved notoriety when he resigned from the London Zoo council, claiming that the zoo should close before the animals suffered financial losses. In 1992, he ran for the Labour Party leadership in the Lords, but was defeated by fellow ex-commissioner Lord Richard. He remained a respected and dedicated frontbencher, raising particularly pertinent concerns about Lord Archer’s ownership of Anglia Television.
After Labour reclaimed power in 1997, Blair appointed him to the Board of Trade as Minister of State. He performed successfully, but after 14 months, when Peter Mandelson was selected to oversee the department, he was demoted to the back benches. In 1954, Stanley Clinton Davis married Frances Lucas, with whom he had three daughters and a son. Lord Clinton-Davis died on June 12, 2023, after being born on December 6, 1928.