'Bad back' stopped golfing MP Glyn Davies canvassing

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Mr Davies says he uses a golf buggy and cannot walk very far

A Welsh Tory MP has dismissed criticism he ignored calls to campaign in a Kent by-election, but visited the area to play golf, as "a silly story".

The Sunday Times has said Montgomeryshire's Glyn Davies, 70, was just seven miles (11 km) from Rochester when he played on a nearby course.

But he told BBC Wales he cannot canvass because he has a bad back and cannot walk far.

Mr Davies said he could play golf because he used a buggy.

Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove is understood to have had ordered MPs to visit the area three times before Thursday's by-election against Mark Reckless, the Tory MP who defected to UKIP.

But Mr Davies admitted he had not visited the area once, but did go to the nearby Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club with his wife for bed and breakfast and a round of golf.

Canvass by phone

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Media captionMr Davies has brushed off the incident as a "silly golf story"

"It's a pretty silly story, really," he said.

"I don't like to make too much of a fuss of things that can go wrong really - but generally speaking I can't walk great distances and I can't stand up for very long."

He said no-one in the party had complained he had not followed Mr Gove's orders.

"I wouldn't have thought they'd want me to go down there and stand on the side of the street and not be able to walk round," he said.

"I can only play golf with a buggy and I tend to do it (canvassing) on the telephone."

He said a community meeting in his constituency prevented him from going to Rochester after his golfing trip.

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