Thursday, June 12, 2008
Shadow home secretary David Davis is resigning as an MP to "take a stand" against the Government's 42-day terror detention plan.
Mr Davis said he was protesting against the "insidious and monstrous" erosion of civil liberties in Britain.
He said: "Up until yesterday I took the view that what we did in the House of Commons, representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because with centuries of forebears we defended the freedoms of the British people - well we did up until yesterday."
Mr Davis said 42-day detention was "the most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms
I like Davis - he seems to be a classic economic liberal & is smart enough to have thoroughly beaten & dispatched several government ministers he was shadowing. Cameron got the top job on charm & good looks. The question which I am sure all those involved will carefully not answer is whether Cameron had decided that if the Lords kick out the 42 day Bill the Tories should oppose it when it comes back. He has found a very good way to make himself unassailable within the party.
On the one hand it is courageous - he is fighting on the internment for 42 days bill which all the polls show is actually on balance popular with a frightened electorate. He has thus broken the cardinal rule about keeping the electorate frightened by hobgoblins & should have to debate the issues seriously.
On the 2nd hand the LibDems have said they won't stand against him which could look like an honourable stepping aside so as not to split the vote & let Labour in if there was any chance of that. There wasn't so we can say he has already won.
MP David Davis (CON) Share Prediction
CON 22,628 47.40% 55.12%
LIB 17,615 36.90% 32.83%
LAB 6,064 12.70% 6.23%
OTH 1,436 3.01% 5.81%
So with the LibDems spiking their own guns the only question is whether he will get the largest majority in the country or not. I think this a mistake on their part - on the principle that failing to step aside could never have let in the pro-Bill Labour party - on the practical side a lot of LibDem voters are going to get used to voting Tory. They have also broken the tradition that the LibDems normally do well in bye-elections.
It is a calculated but nonetheless courageous gamble in a political scene where courage & principle are not widely noted & at least in electoral terms it has already worked. Whether it will end up giving him a de facto veto over the more PC policies of Mr Cameron will depend on how the Tory in the street reacts.
Both Iain Dale & John Redwood have instantly offered their support - mind you so has David Cameron.