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Later life

S.O. Davies (bottom row, second from right) with members of the Welsh Labour Party, 1950

Parliamentary Archives, PUD/18/214

How long did S.O Davies serve as MP for Merthyr?

S.O. Davies was an MP until the end of his life, representing Merthyr until his death in February 1972. Whilst his concerns and interests at Westminster did not change or shift in focus much throughout his career, his relationship with the Labour party became fraught and troubled in his later years.

1970 general election

The Aberfan disaster (the collapse of a colliery spoil tip in Merthyr Tydfil in 1966) led to Davies's final estrangement from the Labour Party. Davies felt uncomfortable about Harold Wilson's support for using the disaster fund to contribute towards removal of the tips. As a result, Davies boycotted the ceremony bestowing freedom of the borough of Merthyr on the Prime Minister in 1970. Following these actions, he was replaced as the Labour candidate in the 1970 general election.

However, Davies refused to accept this decision, and instead stood as an independent socialist candidate. He won by more than 7000 votes over the official Labour candidate, and remained MP until his death in 1972. At Westminster he retained links with the Parliamentary Labour Party, though he remained an independent Parliamentarian for the rest of his political career. 

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The De Montfort Project is an outreach projectrun by the Parliamentary Archiveswhichexplores the life and impact of local MPs and Peers on both their local area and at Parliament.

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