November 12th 2019

In 30 years we’ve seen a lot of Sports Ministers, and interacted with most of them, so we feel qualified to say Mims Davies is the worst of them. Most of them have wanted to help. After all, politicians are pretty good at seeing an injustice and they like to shout about it, even if the end result is often a watered down version of what is really needed, stymied as they are by an ineffectual civil service.

We’ve corresponded with Sports Ministers over the years and have a catalogue of responses, some full of waffle, some crystal clear, but every Sports Minister we dealt with always responded. Well, that’s the courteous thing to do, isn’t it?

However, of all the Sports Ministers we have dealt with, Mims Davies is the one stands out as being the worst, and by quite a large margin at that. Earlier this year Davies’ ex-boss at the DCMS, Jeremy Wright, instructed her to meet with us to discuss our Report on the English FA, which had been published and circulated to Minsters within the DCMS. This was a meeting Davies simply wasn’t interested in. But with most Ministers you meet, even if they are not that interested in your issue (and, let’s face it, most of them aren’t), then at least you get a sense that they are listening and might be prepared to do something to help.  With Ms Davies, you didn’t even get that sense.

Davies sat throughout the 15 minute meeting looking around as though she was totally bored with the whole issue. The embarrassed civil servant next to her, Cameron Yorston, tried to fill in for Davies’ inadequacies and rudeness by engaging in polite conversation, but you could sense that even he was astonished by Davies’ lack of courtesy towards members of the public.

As we spoke Davies casually looked around the room as though she wasn’t listening, trying to spot friends, doubtless to see whether or not she could catch the eye of somebody who might further her career, or find her a favour.

At the end of the meeting, which was short, Cameron Yorston was effusive: “we’ll do all we can to help,” he said. Mims Davies, however, was looking the other way.

After the meeting we wrote several letters to Mims Davies, and she ignored most of them, and some didn’t even draw an acknowledgement from her. Yes, of course there was an injustice. Yes, of course something should be done about it. But do you really expect us politicians to spend our time on this when we have more important things to consider, like the next promotion or finding a more convenient parliamentary seat?

And of course this leads us to the current.

When we heard Mims Davies was leaving parliament recently we cocked our collective heads and thought “hmm, really?”

And the doubt we had was of course realised a few days later as it was declared that she would now be the candidate in the safe Conservative seat of mid-Sussex. Much more convenient. Nice large majority. Much better stepping stone to gain promotion. Maybe not even so many constituents with problems. A much easier life!

Anyone that has interacted with Mims Davies will have known that this was coming all along and wouldn’t be at all surprised. We weren’t. And doubtless Mims Davies will be back in parliament, on the Ministerial ladder, and trying to catch the eye of the next person who can further her career rather than actually doing any proper work.

Injustices? The only injustice Mims Davies sees is why she hasn’t been promoted to the cabinet yet.

Listening to the concerns of the public? The public! What a silly idea! Why listen to them when it is much more important to listen to the Whips Office or the Prime Minister’s closest aids, in order to gain a promotion.

Answering correspondences? Why bother with a simple courtesy like that unless it’s a letter from the Mid-Sussex Conservative Association? Now that would be a really important letter to respond to!

Yes, Mims Davies certainly takes the title of worst Sports Minister in history, but the tragedy for the public, this Government, and possibly even the constituents of Mid-Sussex is that she has found a way to work the system to her own favour, and now with her plum seat in a safe Tory stronghold she can concentrate on what she does best – the promotion of Mims Davies.

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