Robert Davis MBE DL - Former Deputy Leader of Westminster Council

Posted on 22 June 2020

Robert Davis was an elected Councillor on Westminster City Council for over thirty-six years (1982-2018) and was the longest serving Councillor on Westminster City Council in its history.

Between 2008 and 2018 he served as Deputy Leader of the Council and between 2000 and 2008 as Chief Whip.  During this period, he was also Chairman of the Council’s Planning committee for seventeen years and Cabinet Member for Planning for fifteen years.  From January 2017 to March 2018 he served as Cabinet Member for Business Culture & Heritage.   In fact, during his time on the Council, he served on all the major committees including being chairman of the Environment committee, Chairman of the Traffic committee and Chairman of the Housing committee.

Robert was Lord Mayor of Westminster in 1996 -1997 (then the youngest in the Council’s history) and between 2000 and 2018 acted on a rota basis as Lord Mayor Locum Tenens (Deputy Lord Mayor).

He also served as Chairman of the London Mayors’ Association (which Association represents the Mayors and past Mayors of all the thirty-three London Boroughs) for 18 years retiring from that role in July 2016.

Robert is a solicitor but after 32 years in practice as a partner in Freeman Box, a West End firm of lawyers, he retired in April 2015 (although he remains a consultant with the firm).      

Robert is one of Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenants for Greater London (“DL”).

He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2015 for service to local government and planning.

He was educated at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge and at Wolfson College Cambridge before training as a Solicitor at the College of Law in Lancaster Gate.

In 2014 he was voted “Conservative Councillor of the Year” by Asian Voice.

During his tenure as Cabinet member for Planning, his Planning Team won the award for “Best Planning Authority” in the 2015-16 Planning Awards.

Robert also conceived the idea for and produced the annual award winning “West End Live” in Trafalgar Square.  This showcase of the West End’s Musical Theatre is now in its 15th year and Robert has raised about £400,000.00 each year from the private sector to put on the event and enable the public to attend free of charge.  In 2009 he won the “Kiss 100’s Hottest Musical Event of the Year” Award for West End Live.

Robert initiated and subsequently ran the Council’s “City of Sculpture Festival” where artists and sculptors where invited to display large sculptures around the City.  For eighteen years he also ran the Council’s Green Plaque Scheme commemorating famous people who lived in Westminster buildings.   Robert also chaired the Westminster World Heritage Site Steering Group until 2018.

Robert was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park for ten years until December 2019 and is also a Trustee of the Savoy Educational Trust and a Trustee of Mousetrap Theatre Projects.  He also served for ten years as President of the City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association (retiring in 2017).  He was appointed by the Dean of Westminster to serve as a member of the Westminster Abbey Advisory Group, however he retired from that Committee in 2018.

Now widowed, in May 2007, Robert entered a civil partnership with the late Sir Simon Milton, former Deputy Mayor of London.  

Robert is also currently a founding Trustee and the Deputy Chairman of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, a charity set up in Sir Simon Milton’s memory to further Simon’s work as Leader of Westminster Council between 2000 and 2008 with particular emphasis on addressing loneliness amongst the elderly and in training and apprenticeships for the young.  The Foundation founded the Sir Simon Milton Westminster University Technical School (UTC) in Pimlico which trains young people to become engineers.  The UTC has partnered with BT and Network Rail to give the students practical training as part of their secondary education. 

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