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Tuesday, November 3, 1998 Published at 19:50 GMT

UK Politics

Davies's brother tells of beatings

Referred to his unhappy childhood in the Commons

The brother of Ron Davies has told a newspaper about the physical abuse inflicted on the pair when they were children.

BBC Wales Correspondent Wyre Davis: John Davies described his brother's ordeal as "a nightmare"
The day after the former Welsh secretary alluded to his abusive father in a personal Commons statement, John Davies gave details of systematic beatings and bullying.

John, a college lecturer in north Wales, told The Times his father Francis lined up his four children in the family garden and thrashed them with a leather strap.

"He would use violence until one of us gave into confess, then punish us even more," Mr Davies said.

"We would regularly be black and blue at our father's hands. He would fly into a rage at the slightest thing. Dinners would end up all over the walls and we'd all get beaten."

When he stood up to address MPs in parliament - almost a week after quitting his cabinet post following an encounter on Clapham Common that led to him being robbed - Ron Davies also mentioned his violent childhood.

Mr Davies had told the chamber: "Not for the first time in my life, I have been badly beaten and hurt.

"We are what we are. We are all different, the product both of our genes and our experiences. MPs are no different from the society that we represent."

It later emerged the 52-year-old former cabinet minister had previously revealed his unhappy past in an off-the-record briefing with a television journalist.

The comments were used in a film for Welsh channel S4C after speaking to the former Welsh secretary.

Mr Davies said: "At a very personal level, I had a father who was very much an authoritarian figure, a very brutal figure.

"And there's no doubt at all, if you force me to do some self-analysis, I am a libertarian as a reaction to the brutality of the authoritarian nature of that paternalistic society - a very traumatised childhood, and a very difficult family life - very, very difficult."

John Davies said he had avoided marrying and having children because he feared he might repeat the behaviour of his own father, who died in 1976 from heart disease.

He added: "But Ron overcame that. It was the happiest day of his life when his daughter Angharad was born."

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