| John Biggs-Davison |
|Member of||Le Cercle|
Deep political connections
Biggs-Davison attended Le Cercle.
Conservative Monday Club
- Full article: Conservative Monday Club
- Full article: Conservative Monday Club
Biggs-Davison was an active member of the Conservative Monday Club from 1962 (the same year that fellow Cercle member, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, became its first president) until his death. He spoke on their behalf on many occasions both inside and out of the House of Commons, and wrote numerous papers for the Club, and forewords to others. He was one of the principal speakers at Duncan Sandys' "Peace with Rhodesia" rally in Trafalgar Square in January 1967, which was broadcast. The Club held a 'Law and Liberty' May Day Rally in 1970, again in Trafalgar Square, at which Biggs-Davison was a main speaker. He likened the suspension and subsequent abolition of the Parliament of Northern Ireland to "someone sawing away the branch he bestraddles". He was re-elected a member of the Club's Executive Council on 5 June 1972.
In July 1972, he called for tough action in Northern Ireland to clean up the 'No-Go' areas, and was one of the main speakers at the Club's "Halt Immigration Now!" meeting in Westminster Central Hall in September 1972, at the end of which a resolution was passed calling on the government to halt all immigration, repeal the 1968 Race Relations Act, and start a full repatriation scheme. This was delivered to the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, who stated that the government had no intention of repealing the Act.
In the House of Commons in March 1973, Sir Alec Douglas-Home rejected a suggestion from John Biggs-Davison that Britain should deduct aid funds from Zambia and Tanzania sufficient to compensate victims in Rhodesia of armed attacks mounted from those countries. In October that year, he called for the Provisional Irish Republican Army to be also proscribed in the island of Great Britain, as it already was in the whole of Ireland. At the end of 1973, Biggs-Davison's book, The Hand is Red was published, which traces the history of Ireland, notably in the 20th century. He claimed that the Provisional IRA was infiltrated by Communists and Trotskyists, and part of an international subversion and terrorist network.
In January 1974, Biggs-Davison asked Edward Heath if the Monday Club's latest policy document would be given proper consideration by the party, to which Heath replied that "due consideration would be given to it". In April 1974, John Biggs-Davison attacked the amnesty for illegal immigrants, supported by Harold Soref who said it was "making restrospectively what was a crime a legal act". In May 1974, Biggs-Davison was re-elected unopposed as Chairman of the Monday Club.
That month, Biggs-Davison raised the issue of left-wing students and the National Union of Students and their efforts to suppress free speech, saying that "[s]ome university authorities behaved with the utmost cowardice in banning Monday Club speakers". He subsequently spoke at Essex University, but had to have police protection, while a mob outside demonstrated singing The Red Flag. In June, he raised the matter of the IRA's London march with the Home Secretary and asked why it had not been banned under the Public Order Act.
Following the Conservative Party's defeat in the February 1974 general election, Biggs-Davison, writing in the Daily Telegraph said "to win back the voters, to revive Tory democracy among the industrial workers, our appeal must be practical and patriotic, not 'progressive' and 'permissive'".
In November 1974, he was elected Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Northern Ireland Committee, the Daily Telegraph's headline being "Hardliner Heads Tory Team". Biggs-Davison attacked the ITV interview with IRA leader Dáithí Ó Conaill the same month. Winding up the House of Commons debate on Northern Ireland in December, he said "I do not believe the people of Northern Ireland want independence; still less do they want some sort of federation with the republic". In a letter to the press in January 1975, he referred to sectarian murders in Ulster and said that "the conflict is not now between two religions or cultures, but between society and its enemies". He called for reciprocity over extradition with the Republic.
During a further debate in March, on immigration from the Indian sub-continent, he told Home Office Minister Alexander Lyon that "your attitude feeds the fears of people in Britain, and this was very bad for harmony between the races".
He was one of a number of prominent speakers at the Monday Club two-day Conference in Birmingham in March 1975, the title of which was The Conservative Party and the Crisis in Britain. He was elected National Club Chairman the following May, for a two-year term.
Events Participated in
|Le Cercle/1982 (Wildbad Kreuth)||11 June 1982||13 June 1982||Wildbad Kreuth, West Germany|
|Le Cercle/1983 (Bonn)||30 June 1983||3 July 1983||Germany|