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David Davis resigns as an MP.

Eddie Mair | 13:54 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

daviddavis.jpgWe'll talk about it tonight. What do you think?

BTW thanks to newsletter subscriber Lynwen who asked, if I can multi-task on Daily Politics, why didn't we mention David Davis in today's newsletter? Alas, it was written at 11.52...and my skilling doesn't yet extend to seeing the future. But there is a BBC course on doing that so stand by...

Want to read his full statement?

"The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden. The word Haltemprice is derived from the motto of a medieval priory, and in Old French it means "Noble Endeavour". I had always viewed membership of this House as a noble endeavour, not least because we and our forebears have for centuries fiercely defended the fundamental freedoms of our citizens. Or we did, up until yesterday. This Sunday is the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the document that guarantees the most fundamental of British freedoms, habeas corpus. The right not to be imprisoned for prolonged periods by the state without being told the charge against you.

But yesterday this House decided to allow the state to lock up potentially innocent people for 6 weeks without charge. This Counter Terrorism Bill will in all likelihood be rejected by the House of Lords. What is their function, after all, if not to defend the Magna Carta? But because the impetus behind it is political, the government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to enforce its will and insist on its right to set aside a cornerstone of all our liberties.

It has no democratic mandate to do this, since 42 days was not a manifesto commitment. And its legal standing is dubious, to say the least. But purely for political reasons, this Government will do it. And because the generic security arguments relied upon are ones that will never go away, this Government will be tempted again in the future to try for 56 days, 70 days, 90 days.

But in truth 42 days is just one albeit perhaps the most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms under this Government.

We will have the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens. And a DNA database bigger than that of any dictatorship with thousands of innocent children and a million innocent citizens on it. We've witnessed a sustained assault on jury trials that bulwark against bad law and its arbitrary abuse by the state. Shortcuts with our justice system that have left it both less firm and less fair.
And the creation of a database state, opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snooper and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

The state has security powers that clamp down on peaceful protest, and so-called hate laws that stifle legitimate debate whilst those inciting violence get off scot-free. This cannot go on. It must be stopped. And for that reason, today I feel that it is incumbent upon me to take a stand.

I will be resigning my membership of this House, and I intend to force a by-election in Haltemprice and Howden. I will not fight it on the government's general record. There is little point in repeating Crewe and Nantwich. I will not fight it on my personal record. I am just a piece in this chess game. I will fight this by-election against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this Government.

This may be the last speech I make to the House. Of course, that would be a cause of deep regret to me.

But at least my electorate, and the nation as a whole, would have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of the day the ever intrusive power of the state into their daily lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom and the steady attrition undermining the rule of law.

And if they do send me back here it will be with a single, simple message. That the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday should not stand.

That the British people have grown tired of the inflated, arbitrary and arrogant power accumulated by this Government. And that the slow but ceaseless encroachment of the state into their daily lives must come to an end."


  • 1. At 2:19pm on 12 Jun 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    What a powerful speech outside the house. Yesterdays vote was disgraceful. Good luck Dave.

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  • 2. At 2:20pm on 12 Jun 2008, williamnewton wrote:

    Finally, an MP with at least some sense of ethics. I've never been a fan of David Davis, but he's gone up in my estimation today. If only all politicians actually backed up what they say with congruent action! Now I just need to move to his constituency

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  • 3. At 2:21pm on 12 Jun 2008, lucien desgai wrote:

    It's official! David Davis has been forced from his parliamentary seat by David Davis, an old foe described by some colleagues as his 'mirror image'

    With the Lib Dems not fighting the by-election and Labour still making up its mind it's looking ever more like a straight two-half race between David Davis and David Davis.

    Mr Davis will be spending some time with himself this afternoon, taking the opportunity to listen to differing opinions and to get an idea of his general mood.

    Asked how David Davis has been coping with today's fast-moving events a close relative was quoted saying 'he's beside himself'.

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  • 4. At 2:22pm on 12 Jun 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    (repeated from the Glass Box as this might be a better place for it...)

    PM Team, can we have some analysis of whether - under Parliamentary rules - Mr Davis is a) allowed to contest a seat that he's resigned without changing parties or something similar, and b) if Parliament allows him to fight a by-election on a national issue rather than the local issues that one might expect (hope?).

    If you manage to talk to him tonight, can you ask him how he feels about the constituents he presumably committed to represent, who are now without representation in Parliament until the election is complete, just because he wants to make a point?

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  • 5. At 2:39pm on 12 Jun 2008, Electric Dragon wrote:

    SSC - a) yes, he is perfectly allowed to stand again for Parliament for the same party. I was just looking at precedents for this, and all 15 Unionist MPs resigned at the same time in 1985 to protest against the Anglo-Irish agreement. "Each of their parties agreed not to contest seats previously held by the others, and each outgoing MP stood for re-election." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_by-elections%2C_1986 ). 14 of them were re-elected, many effectively unopposed.

    b) I know of no way Parliament can constrain which issues he campaigns under. It would be a gross breach of freedom of speech if Parliament did so.

    c) no doubt he believes that this is a small sacrifice (which many of his constituents will support) in order to draw attention to what he sees as the slide of the UK into a surveillance and database state.

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  • 6. At 2:59pm on 12 Jun 2008, Bizzie Lizzie wrote:

    Whether he wins or loses, the 42 days legislation will have the same
    future as if he'd stayed in Parliament, as will the other civil
    liberties issues he's concerned about - but we taxpayers will pay for
    the by-election, as will the members of the constituency Conservative
    Party given that the national Conservative Party is apparently not going
    to give him their full and complete backing and support.

    Mr Davis is apparently unable to convince the rest of his party to
    pledge to repeal the 42 days legislation and the other civil liberties
    issues he's concerned about, so I for one would be better able to
    understand his position if he resigned the Tory whip as well. As it is,
    he's exposing the Tory party as just as riven with dissent as it ever
    was, and hardly likely to impress the electorate as electable into

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  • 7. At 3:02pm on 12 Jun 2008, missmicoh wrote:

    Well done to him. Can we have more politicians standing up for what they believe please. The way Gordon Brown has been negotiating and agreeing favours for votes on such an important issue is disgraceful. This is politics at its worse.

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  • 8. At 3:04pm on 12 Jun 2008, White_Rat wrote:

    cat (4);
    Anyone can contest a Parlaimentary election, except for the Monarch and their descendants and certain disqualified persons (like prisoners, for example). There is no restraint to Davis doing what he proposes.

    He can fight it on any matter he chooses. Whether his opponents want to fight on the same grounds, or other issues is a matter for them. After all, at the recent Crewe and Nantwich the policy of the Labour party seemed to be to depict their opponent as a posh toff. hardly local or national issue, I'd have thought.

    His constituents will now have an opportunity to voice their opinions about his actions through the ballot, so let's see what their verdict is, rather than asking him to try and second-guess them. Those constituents may choose to vote for any candidate they want and upon any issue they feel strongly about, whether local, national or this single-issue.


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  • 9. At 3:13pm on 12 Jun 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Electric Dragon (5):

    Thanks for that. It's a very sad reflection on democracy if the only way he feels he can make a point is to waste a lot of public money and everyone's time to do so.

    I'm sure his ex-constituents will vote in the way that seems most relevant to them but it seems a shame for national politics to overshadow a local election. (I'm sure that happens more often that it should even in the normal course of events.)

    On the reason for this (assuming it's not a cynical ploy of Davis' to usurp his leader's position) I can't see his actions changing anyone's mind on the matter. *I* think detention for 6 weeks without charge, and the DNA database/ID card project are fundamentally wrong and a course of action more suited - as he's noted - to a dictatorship than the supposed mother of Parliaments, but a lot of people are very scared and are unlikely to agree with me or Mr Davis because of something that looks an awful lot like a stunt.

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  • 10. At 3:14pm on 12 Jun 2008, Fifi wrote:

    I have been banging on for ages about exactly these issues. What a relief that someone - a front-bencher, no less! - is prepared to stand up and talk sense at last.

    If only his own Party's leader and so many of the other Opposition parties had had the courage and conviction to do the same.

    Another frogger and I were talking for a while about an idea I had some years ago for a novel. Its theme was to be how the steady erosion of our liberties will eventually lead to the opening chapter of George Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four.

    I've had to shelve the project because, as fast as I can dream up ridiculous new ways for governments to manipulate us all into giving up our rights and freedoms, our own actual government goes a step or three further in real life.

    By the time I'm ready for a publisher to look at it, I'll be in jail or have quietly disappeared...

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  • 11. At 3:14pm on 12 Jun 2008, eventsdearboy wrote:

    My God, a politician with balls! Whatever next! He has almost singly-handedly restored my faith in the political classes – and clearing those Augean Stables of even some of the filth that resides therein is no mean feat.

    I suspect that there will come a time many decades hence, a time when the names of Blair and Brown and Cameron are long forgotten, a time when sage political commentators on some futuristic version of PM will say in response to the events of the day, "You know, once upon a time there was a man called Davis". And some child, playing in the remains of an old churchyard, will scrap the moss from a crumbling tombstone to read, “Here lies the rarest of mortal beings, a man of principle”.

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  • 12. At 3:15pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Responding to a point raised by Tom Harrop in the Glass Box on the Davis news, I have to say that I agree with him - this gesture will do little more than be a costly exercise in grandstanding, whereas he could have chosen to continue to make his point from the Parliamentary benches, particularly since, given the makeup of the second house, this legislation will not be going through 'on the nod'.

    In my opinion, Mr. Davis' motives go somewhat in another direction from those indicated in his speech. I'm sure he does hold these views, but I'm also pretty sure that there are less altruistic motives afoot. Mr. Cameron should be very wary of these motives.

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  • 13. At 3:16pm on 12 Jun 2008, Humph wrote:

    Dragon (5) and Rat (8) Are you sure? If you look at the parlimentary rule book, [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] It states: "Therefore a Member wishing to resign has to go through the process of applying for a paid office of the Crown, which automatically disqualifies the Member from holding a seat in the House of Commons. I would echo The Cat's (4) call that this is something that PM should be looking into. H.

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  • 14. At 3:19pm on 12 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    What do I think, you ask...

    I think that a huge number of individuals in the country will support Davis simply on the grounds that it is high time somebody stood up and made a really large public fuss about the erosion over the past decade of ordinary individuals' liberty to do perfectly innocent things, all in the name of a 'security' that cannot be offered by the measures being imposed, and the casual overnight destruction of stuff that took several centuries to put in place and refine.

    (Since 'security' is a state of mind, nobody can legislate in its favour, any more than they can legislate against 'fear' or drop a bomb on 'terror', after all.)

    I think that the debate will now be about practically anything else under the sun that is remotely related to almost anything to do with Parliament, ancient rights, civil liberty and so forth, but Davis himself will probably be seen as having done a brave thing, and an honourable thing, and whatever else happens that impression will probably remain.

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  • 15. At 3:35pm on 12 Jun 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Ratty (8), about prisoners not being ale to stand for [the UK] Parliament:

    And forgive me for being a bit typically London-centric, living-in-England and therefore not knowing;

    But didn't Bobby Sands stand for, and get elected to, Parliament?

    (Unless it was the Dail, in which case ignore the above).

    I know he'd probably have said he was a political prisoner, but still, the question stands...

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  • 16. At 3:44pm on 12 Jun 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    When I first saw the news I thought 'Yep, no place for working class lads with a good education in Cameron and Johnson's toff world.

    Then I got to see the statement.

    I agree with Fifi. It's grandstanding.

    Surely the important thing is to get the Tories to say they will REPEAL ALL the legislation he objects to.

    For me, the most disreputable thing about the vote was the DUP position.
    NI is in peace mode and doesn't need more anti - terrorist legislation but less.

    The way this is going politically, Brown should count himself lucky if the Lords do throw it out. (Hint).

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  • 17. At 3:48pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    pmL: Gosh, I think you're conflating me and Fifi! But I do assure you that we are two quite different gals....

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  • 18. At 3:57pm on 12 Jun 2008, paul wrote:

    Mr Davis complaints about DNA databases and CCTV strike me as paranoia (personaly I don't care one way or another about 28/42 days). Genuinely totalitarian regimes seem to manage perfectly well without such things, whilst they might well have prevented previous miscarriages of justice in the UK. Real threats to civil liberties generally seem to derive from extra-judicial practices e.g. the Police "Forward Intelligence Teams" which have recently been criticised by the NUJ.

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  • 19. At 4:05pm on 12 Jun 2008, Sid wrote:

    Big Sister - I think part of the problem is that there has been so little public debate. Yes, DD can keep banging on about it in parliament - whenever a vote comes up - but there hasn't been an election where people have been able to choose between a candidate who favours the extension of detention without trial with consequent erosion of habeas corpus and one who doesn't.

    It could be grandstanding - if he wasn't risking his job/career.

    Did I hear someone on the radio saying there might not be a Labour candidate? (I know there won't be a Lib Dem - but Labour will look rather foolish if they don't fight, won't they?)

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  • 20. At 4:06pm on 12 Jun 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Big Sister (17) : I thought that too. Although I can think of worse things than being conflated with you, m'dear!

    PMleader (16) : I don't actually think he is grandstanding. What I meant was, what a shame he saved this speech till after the vote was lost/won (depending on your point of view), rather than deploying his words beforehand and persuading his own Party to vote accordingly.

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  • 21. At 4:09pm on 12 Jun 2008, UptheTrossachs wrote:

    It may well be 'grandstanding' - and no doubt many will criticise David Davis for that.
    But isn't that the point? There would be little point in his resigning if it didn't generate all the froth and excitement that it appears to be doing.
    Davis will have days if not weeks in the spotlight, seekin (and getting) credit for his 'principled' stand.
    There will be more rumours of a split in the Conservative party leadership.
    Whatever flak he may come in for, Davis will have done his public approval rating no harm.
    Maybe Gordon Brown should consider pursuing a similar line???

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  • 22. At 4:10pm on 12 Jun 2008, JeanVicT wrote:

    Re David Davis

    Resign from a safe seat, stand again and get your only feasible contestant not to contest it : beggars believe! Such trickery only serves to bring Parliament in to disrepute.

    Jean T

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  • 23. At 4:20pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    As you say, UTT, his ratings will doubtless rise amongst a certain sector of the electorate.

    I seem to remember Heseltine trying a similar tack.

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  • 24. At 4:22pm on 12 Jun 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    I feel a bit sorry for DD but I cannot fully understand why he done what he done.

    Anyway the whole 42 day this is a joke and yet again irony will rule when the unelected House of Lords will save the day.

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  • 25. At 4:27pm on 12 Jun 2008, barriesingleton wrote:


    Is that possible? It just so happens I stood for Parliament (Newbury 2005) as an independent, under the banner: SPOIL PARTY GAMES. Now David Davis has 'stepped out of the lie' (Vaclav Havel) and seems to be going up like an altruistic rocket (hopefully up a tender part of the political anatomy).
    BUT. When I was making myself known to voters they would ask: 'If elected, what will you do?' My reply was: 'Give them a maiden speech to remember, and then put a spotlight on the Westminster cosy iniquity, getting routinely suspended in the process.'
    I have much respect for David Davis, he is one of the few to whom I can listen with no blood pressure rise. But 'up with Parliament he has put, to the extent that he rose to high rank. Why only now and only this issue?

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  • 26. At 4:40pm on 12 Jun 2008, Edith Crispin wrote:

    I'm trying to get my head around Davis' Conservative Party. I thought the Tories were just about to make a breakthrough in defining what they stood for, but now I've got mixed messages

    Like Mrs. Blair, it is the champion of civil liberties, apparently. It abhors crime prevention measures like CCTV, DNA databases and extraordinary investigative powers in the case of suspected terrorists.

    It shakes hands with the old National Council for Civil Liberties - that training ground for Labour MPs like Harman and Hewitt.

    Will the electors be as confused as I am? Why has Civil Liberties crept so high onto the Tory agenda that it becomes a resigning thing? Has Laura Norder been pushed into second place or what?

    I will be interesting to see whether the electors agree with him. I'm not convinced they'll care. They are more bothered about their finances, inflation and taxation, I reckon. Presumably he's done the research and crunched the numbers.

    This couldn't just be an impulsive, incoherent, attention-seeking stunt could it? If so, it has demolished Cameron's rebuilding programme. I've no idea what it means to be a Conservative now.

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  • 27. At 4:41pm on 12 Jun 2008, barriesingleton wrote:

    TO DAVE OR NOT TO DAVE (Cameron)

    Shiny-Boy Dave never ceases to crow about the speeches HE wrote for this
    or that worthy. In these days of wall-to-wall deceit, the concept that
    words should come from an associated mouth having been composed by the
    relevant brain, seem to matter not one jot, or even a tittle, for that
    matter. "Put your trust in 'princes' and let the lies of others lie in
    your teeth."
    Did David Davis write those stirring words? Perhaps it is advisible to 'Ask not. . . '

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  • 28. At 4:52pm on 12 Jun 2008, Humph wrote:

    Interesting to see that I am being modded. Even more interesting to see the way in which it happened. I was replying to Dragon (5) and Rat (8) to point out the rules about MPs resigning. My message originally appeared at 9 but has been moved down to 13 and presently is being considered by the mods. I believe the reason is likely to be that I included a URL to a parliment website, which explains the rules, and so I will not include that here. It also included this quote from the front page of that document:

    Therefore a Member wishing to resign has to go
    through the process of applying for a paid office of
    the Crown, which automatically disqualifies the
    Member from holding a seat in the House of


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  • 29. At 5:08pm on 12 Jun 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    nice pic, but blue background and red tie?

    must be new labour!

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  • 30. At 5:14pm on 12 Jun 2008, barriesingleton wrote:


    If David Davis stands unapposed, has a point been made?

    Machiavelli is lying in a state of bliss in his grave.

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  • 31. At 5:19pm on 12 Jun 2008, cringletie wrote:

    Thank God for David Davis, I am not a Tory, but I will be supporting him, and will even head down from Scotland to campaign for him. Last night was a travesty, with our government buying the votes it needed to take away our civil liberties, perhaps more MP's should stand down and we have have a national campaign to preserve our civil liberties.

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  • 32. At 5:21pm on 12 Jun 2008, bubblingbespoke wrote:

    David Davis is to be congratulated. At last a man of principle in government. I wish he were my MP. I would certainly vote for him

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  • 33. At 5:22pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    I have to say that those who consider he is 'risking' his parliamentary career seem somewhat naive to me. He will be 'returned', which means he'll be back in the 'hice'. He will probably be returned to the post of shadow Home Secretary. He will have received publicity, be feted as a 'hero', and have had his ratings within his party raised to new heights.

    He'll also, if only today, have ensured that the issue of 42 day detention will stay firmly on the radar, will have endless opportunities to comment on this, and so forth.

    I really don't think this man is 'risking' anything. I think he knows exactly what game he is playing.

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  • 34. At 5:23pm on 12 Jun 2008, Exdepgig wrote:

    Your line of questioning of Dominic G just now was puerile. Why do journalists always try to see the downside? In this case you infer that the lack of formal Tory support reveals something malign. It was clear from the early announcements that David D was acting on a personal, conscience level. Well done him! Well done Dominic G and David C on saying they'll be campaigning up there! Poor show you and your editorial team for trying to put a depressing spin on all this! Most of us ordinary, non-party aligned listeners are left cold by this cynical line.

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  • 35. At 5:24pm on 12 Jun 2008, Cater_Racer wrote:

    David Davis has gone up immeasurably in my estimation. He has shown he has true conviction of what he believes is right.

    Well Done David! You are an example to the house.

    He has highlighted the erosion of civil liberties and the values that make us a free democracy.

    We can only wait to see if his constituency agrees with him, but I for one back him all the way.

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  • 36. At 5:24pm on 12 Jun 2008, MikeMSN wrote:

    Mr Davis is more comparable to Enoch Powell than Gladstone: so in love with his own opinions that he prefers speaking them to actually getting anything done. This move will embarrass his party, inconvenience the voter, and cost the taxpayer. The Commons has voted, according to the rules of our parliamentary democracy, but that is not good enough for Mr Davis.
    His opinion, incidentally, for what it is worth, is wrong. Our liberties depend on the rule of law, not on the government's ignorance of us. Holding a database, having identity cards, deploying (mostly useless) CCTV - these are measures to defend liberty, if they are used to catch criminals, stop benefits cheats, halt NHS tourism and so on. There is nothing inherently illiberal about the government knowing where you live. The public is miles ahead of the politicians and the right wing press on this issue, and if only Cameron would sack Davis from the party and put up a conservative candidate, they would get a chance to show it. As it is, Davis's egotistical gesture will leave nothing proved, since he stands as a conservative. What a mess.

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  • 37. At 5:26pm on 12 Jun 2008, kniphofia wrote:

    Pul-eeze.. of all the issues to take a stand on! Let's remember this is a potential keeping in detention of assumed terrorists, what about the living conditions of all UK citizens? Pensioner and child poverty, rising fuel costs, credit crisis...

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  • 38. At 5:28pm on 12 Jun 2008, classically wrote:

    The great majority of the British electorate are relaxed about 42 days detention for suspected terrorists, so why are so many of our MPs, elected to represent us, against it?
    If you are law abiding citizen you have nothing to fear, and all this nonsense about the infringement of personal freedoms and civil liberties is just that - nonsense.
    To many people, MPs not supportting 42 days detention are viewed as being soft on crime and terrorism!
    And quite what David Davis' game is in resigning, well I just think he has taken leave of his senses - he should get out more.

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  • 39. At 5:30pm on 12 Jun 2008, Frankacne wrote:

    Well Done David Davies, I was beginning to think that people had forgotten about the appalling paranoia of this government. They are doing more damage than the terrorists and not only making us hated by foreign countries but also treating us all like criminals or suspects in our own country. Its time that this awful bunch of morons we call a government was first of all reminded that they elected to serve, and not elected to bully or bomb people and then given the push. We cannot set a good example in the world if we have a government like this which apparently measures all of us by their own corrupt and dishonest standards. Thank you Mr Davies for restoring some of my faith in the basic decency of human nature.

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  • 40. At 5:30pm on 12 Jun 2008, mhs390m wrote:

    At last! Someone has the courage to speak out and take some action. He is quite right that we are sleep walking into a big brother state and that the 42 day vote was just the latest of many steps.
    All these laws and regualtions end up being used for purposes other than the ones they were originally intended.
    I just wish that I was in his constituency and able to show my support. Hopefully at the next election my MP will be as clear on this issue.
    Good luck to him, and I hope his constituents send him back to Westminster with a massive vote of support.

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  • 41. At 5:31pm on 12 Jun 2008, zefrog wrote:

    I am against the 42 day thing and other "erosions of our civil liberties" but I think that David Davies' stand is nothing but a stunt and not a very clever one at that.

    First there is the cost involved in all this, the wasted money; then there is the wasted time for his constituents who noe find themselves without an MP for however long it will take for Davies to be re-elected.

    And that the bigger point, He has a majority of 5000, the Lib Dems have already said that they wouldn't put up a candidate and I don't think Labour should bother either (if nothing else but show up Davies), so Mr Davies is guarranteed to be re-elected... He is not taking any risk whatsoever. Unless perhaps the electors wake up and realise they have being conned.

    Would he not have been better able to carry on raising the issues he wants to raise by staying in his position in the Shadow Cabinet, rather than becoming a backbencher?

    Wouldn't it have been better for him to allow the media and the public to keep on focusing on those said issues, rather than focusing him?

    oh, wait....

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  • 42. At 5:31pm on 12 Jun 2008, redtowers wrote:

    My faith and trust in politicians has been restored today after yesterday's disgraceful behaviour by some of our MP's, some of whom denounced their personal integrity with jaw-dropping disregard for what politics must be about. I applaud David Davies's decision. A great time for British politics

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  • 43. At 5:32pm on 12 Jun 2008, Electric Dragon wrote:

    slightlymuddy, for what it's worth, I don't believe Britain is becoming a totalitarian state. Instead it is becoming a bureaucratic surveillance state: one in which that surveillance is directed not to the greater glory of the Leader, but rather to the enforcement of myriad pettifogging regulations. 1984 is not the touchstone in this case, but Brazil. Sorry for locking you up for 42 days without charge, Mr. Buttle.

    Automatic number plate recognition cameras that track your car journeys. Talk of surveillance devices being fitted to bins. Education officials using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to check up on whether a child is eligible for a school.

    What has happened is that the creation and enforcement of rules is becoming an end in itself, along with a technocratic worship of the Power of Databases and Computers to manage those rules. And the more enforcement agencies we create and the more powers we give to those agencies (including the police), the more danger there is that someone somewhere will abuse them, or that an error in one of those Databases will lead to an innocent person suffering.

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  • 44. At 5:36pm on 12 Jun 2008, barriesingleton wrote:


    Is he standing as the Conservative candidate? I thought it was first reported as 'independent'? This is getting as complicated as the Treaty.

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  • 45. At 5:38pm on 12 Jun 2008, Westonblogger wrote:

    I salute David Davies for making a stand.

    More MPs should take note, this government is taking the country towards an Eastern block style socialism under the guise of public safety.

    MPs should stand up for our democracy not just tow the party line for the sake of their positions.

    Well done David.

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  • 46. At 5:40pm on 12 Jun 2008, Fossilized wrote:

    Now if a few dozen more MP would do the same it might mark the final demise of Brown and his cohort of right wing yes-men. Pleaaaase!

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  • 47. At 5:41pm on 12 Jun 2008, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Wow. As I type: 34 through to 43 "comment is awaiting moderation". This David Davis issue is really stirring it up. Good on you Eddie - really great interviewing tonight.

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  • 48. At 5:42pm on 12 Jun 2008, U12122585 wrote:

    Well done David!

    I was screaming at Gordon Brown on the television last night when I heard the result (a lot of screaming was done along with the Apprentice final).

    We have ahd our human rights cruely ripped away from us. We say America is cruel to terrorists with Guantanamo Bay - but at least, mostly, those people have been charged. We've gone one step further than Guantanamo Bay - how disgraceful.

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  • 49. At 5:42pm on 12 Jun 2008, beachbuggin wrote:

    Finally! someone bringing a civil liberties issue in to the news.. The labour govenment has done nothing for this country except erode civil liberties. They put up camera's, take away the right to protest, propose the biometric ID (which is the most fascist proposition ever) and now this.. 42 day imprisonment for no reason (and they criticise Mugabe!).

    With a government like this one, why would any 'terrorist' feel the need to get out of bed, we're terrorising ourselves..

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  • 50. At 5:42pm on 12 Jun 2008, Jon_Lee wrote:

    I congratulate David Davies on his principled stand. It is about time this government was checked. The vote on 42 days had little to do with counter-terrorism. It was about Gordon Brown’s ego. That is not a sound reason to sign away 800 years of hard won freedoms.
    Don’t forget, New Labour has used “counter-terrorism” laws to expel members of its own party from a conference. It engages in character assassination of anyone who speaks out against it. It has passed laws that allow local council officials to check if your child is entitled to attend a school.
    We have more CCTV per head than any country in the world, and a DNA database in which the overwhelming majority of records are of innocent people.
    Enough is enough. It is time to take a stand, and I say this as a former serviceman (24 years service), who has lost countless comrades to terrorism.

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  • 51. At 5:43pm on 12 Jun 2008, oldgreysquirrel wrote:

    Thank you Mr Davis for saying what I have been thinking for some time. Get rid of this would-be National Socialist state of Airstrip One. The state should serve the citizen not the other way round.

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  • 52. At 5:43pm on 12 Jun 2008, jonhlon wrote:

    Listening to the reaction from so many different people it surely is clear that Mr Davis is emotionally unsuitable for a cabinet post or even a shadow cabinet post. he clearly is not a team player, and I, for one, a very concerned about an minister taking such a decision when he was clearly in a real state. Also, I can't get over how vain he appears.

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  • 53. At 5:46pm on 12 Jun 2008, MaggieinHampstead wrote:

    Well done to David Davies and also the Labour 'rebels'. But I am beginning to think that the two main parties have exchanged places in the politcal spectrum. Mr Brown 'buying off' would-be rebels and the DUP ranks up there with some of the worst excesses of right wing authoritiarian regimes in countries without our distinguished history of democracy and (supposedly) being in the forefront of human rights. How about a gathering at Runymede to protest?

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  • 54. At 5:46pm on 12 Jun 2008, nedguy wrote:

    I never thought I'd ever hear myself say this about a tory.... David Davis is a hero.

    He has put his finger, and his carreer, on exactly the issues that have been most frightening me when I consider my son's future.

    I am ashamed and appalled at this revolting government, which I once voted for.

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  • 55. At 5:48pm on 12 Jun 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    A brave and personal decision.

    Why didn't Mr Cameron just say "You are on your own, mate!"?


    Of course I mean Mr Rooney's decision to marry Coleen in Italy. OK?

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  • 56. At 5:51pm on 12 Jun 2008, Andrew_Southampton wrote:

    As a Conservative supporter throughout my life I have despaired of the party so many times in recent years, but David Cameron and his strong team, including Davis, have restored my faith with a sensible and decent approach to politics. The team has been united and I believe it still is united.

    Social Conservatism is here and it is here to stay. It has been strengthened, not hurt as many BBC commentators have been saying all afternoon by Davis's actions today.

    David Davis is an honourable man, I support his stance and would happily travel from Southampton to Yorkshire to assist in his re-election.

    Let's support this brave man for standing up for something he believes in, something that Gordon Brown and his weak, discredited colleagues could never do. Davis hasn't bribed and cajoled to win a vote, he has stood up for what he believes in. Three cheers for David Davis.

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  • 57. At 5:51pm on 12 Jun 2008, saintTonyBuckley wrote:

    It is totally splendid that David Davis should take a stand against the creeping authoritarianism of successive governments. Governments are now in a position to crush any serious popular movement. This is intolerable. They are there for our benefit, not to control us.

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  • 58. At 5:52pm on 12 Jun 2008, Norwich_confused wrote:

    How many MPs of similar principles would it take to force a general election?

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  • 59. At 5:55pm on 12 Jun 2008, profoundSarita wrote:

    Treason never prospers.
    What's the reason?
    For if it prospers, it is no longer treason.

    Perhaps, only perhaps,
    Mr Davis's Actions will successfully show up the UK political system for what it has become
    over these last 35 years.
    A self-serving club for the ignorant and the utterly corrupt.

    (Although you could see the initial trauma that set up this potential back in the 17th century).

    It may all be too little, too late.
    We all shall die slowly to the cries of:
    Who could possibly predicted this?

    God be with all, anywhere the world over who attempt to live their lives in honour and with virtue.

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  • 60. At 5:55pm on 12 Jun 2008, invisiblejuliab wrote:

    What a complete waste of time and taxpayers money. So the democratic decision was not the one he hoped for but it was a democratic decision. Personally I think it is wrong that he is allowed to resign his seat and then contest the seat again, unless of course he funds the whole episode himself.

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  • 61. At 5:57pm on 12 Jun 2008, Lord Elpus wrote:

    What a great stunt! David Cameron is keeping his head down until he sees which way the wind is blowing. Mean while, I'm looking around the papers to see where the bad news is buried.

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  • 62. At 5:59pm on 12 Jun 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    ystavani (55):

    Really? Mickey Rooney's getting married again? Well done to him! More on that please Eddie!

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  • 63. At 6:00pm on 12 Jun 2008, paultoner wrote:

    Good luck to David Davis and shame on New Labour to have to be shown how to safe-keep the hard won rights of the people of this country.

    If the Tories can commit to reversing last night's result, it will surely mark the end of any illusions that the British electorate might have that New Labour are the champions of the worker or the custodians of any socialist legacy.

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  • 64. At 6:01pm on 12 Jun 2008, Peter Bolt wrote:

    How can "the intelligentsia" ever undesrstand someone who resigns for reason of conscience or principal.

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  • 65. At 6:05pm on 12 Jun 2008, barriesingleton wrote:


    Cameron has loudly dubbed Davis's action 'brave'. Was it Sir Humphrey who told us that was code for foolish? Ah!

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  • 66. At 6:07pm on 12 Jun 2008, oldgreysquirrel wrote:

    Don't be personal. Mr Davis may get more publicity. But more important is that he is pushing the issue of State intrusion into more publicity and public debate. High time.

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  • 67. At 6:15pm on 12 Jun 2008, starlilolill wrote:

    A man of principles and integrity! Well done David. Would a general election be forced if all MPs who voted against the 42 days did the same as DD? Now there's a thought!

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  • 68. At 6:16pm on 12 Jun 2008, cringletie wrote:

    I left my post ages ago, no 31, why hasnt it been authorised

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  • 69. At 6:19pm on 12 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Big Sister (33)

    There is always a risk. If no one else does, I might stand against him. Formidable opposition I hear you say.

    I would stand against him, not because I disagree but because I do, though my platform would be against him, naturally.

    Should I win I would resign my seat after my maiden speech and force another by-election. Like the Irish government and the Lisbon referendum, the constituents would keep having the election until they made the right decision.

    However, I think the only way he can lose is if the the former member for Finchley stands against him.

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  • 70. At 6:20pm on 12 Jun 2008, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    Personally, I think it's a sign of just how right David Davis is about the unchecked growth of authoritarianism and loss of civil liberties under Labour that a BBC Presenter should think the simple right of a MP to resign his seat should somehow represent a "loss of authority" on the part of his party leader.

    It's a sad reflection on BBC-world that one MP following his conscience with the full backing of his party leader is attemped to be spun as a lack of authority for the Opposition Leader whereas 30+ MPs voting against a full party whip is presented as the Prime Minister regaining his authority...

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  • 71. At 6:22pm on 12 Jun 2008, cybergal110 wrote:

    I hated the Tories through the eighties and nineties, but now I will vote for them on the basis of their rejection of the ludicrous and shocking ID cards. David Davis has shown himself to be a man of principle and I admire him for that. DNA testing, CCTV, it is all going too far. Government should concentrate on less glamorous and expensive tried and tested solutions, like keeping police officers motivated by honouring pay rises.

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  • 72. At 6:24pm on 12 Jun 2008, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    Oh, and a big "well done" to David Davis. I'm not sure that what he's doing is "sensible" in terms of possible risk against possible gain, but then I suppose that's what really makes it a clear that it's a decision of principle and not one of opportunism.

    And I really have to laugh when I hear the Government quoted as saying they don't understand his decision - after all, it's a point of principle so they wouldn't, would they...?

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  • 73. At 6:25pm on 12 Jun 2008, Macreinhardt wrote:

    I completely support Mr David Davis in his protest resignation against the insidious erosion of our hard fought for civil liberties. As an Australian who has lived in the UK, I have been shocked by the slow erosion on the privacy rights of British citizens, and the plethora of CCTV cameras and new legislation that will force an ID card on me and ultimately the British public: I for one have no intention of obtaining any such ID card, I would rather rot in jail than give up my right to be the only owner of my DNA. Mr D Davis you have given me hope that polititions do have moral courage, and if I was a member of your constituency, I would give up my time to help you win your seat back.

    Let us never forget that once a right is lost, it is extremely hard to get that right back, and history shows that once legislation is in place, "mission creep" insidiously rears its ugly head.

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  • 74. At 6:27pm on 12 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 20, the speech Davis made yesterday in the House of Commons was along much the same lines, wasn't it? And did it convince (or fail to convince) his party about how they voted? I thought the Conservatives voted against 42 days' detention without charge anyway.

    As for anyone saying 'nothing to fear if you have done nothing wrong' about this, if a very high proportion of the people held at present for 28 days are released without charge (not even a motoring offence), are they fearful thereafter because they were guilty and it just couldn't be proved, or are they perhaps people who had actually done nothing wrong and are afraid because they were imprisoned for no reason they know of, and now have no security whatever that it won't happen to them again, or some other innocent person they know?

    I somehow doubt that the police are making no effort to bang these prisoners up legitimately for *something*, even if not a terrorist offence, because I can't think of any reason the police would want to make it clear that they were failing in such an important matter.

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  • 75. At 6:29pm on 12 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Maggieinhamstead (53)

    "How about a gathering at Runymede to protest? "

    I like it. Great idea. Froggers of the world unite you have nothing to lose but your chains.

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  • 76. At 6:29pm on 12 Jun 2008, saccovanzetti wrote:

    never voted tory. never liked david davies. but stunned that i am impressed with a tory shadow cabinet member. integrity, balls, risk taker- whether its a stunt or not, this man is standing up for his beliefs- and that is pretty much an unseen commodity in politics today- hence why so many people don't bother. Go go!

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  • 77. At 6:38pm on 12 Jun 2008, RachelG wrote:

    As Big Sis and others have said this is not brave. It is not risking his career. He is certain to be reelected, possibly unopposed, and quite probably resume a shadow cabinet job.

    I'm sure he feels strongly about these things but how can he support 28 days but oppose 42 days - where is the principle in that? He would have had more credibility if he had resigned his shadow cabinet job and campaigned to get his own party to commit itself to greater liberalism if it is elected.

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  • 78. At 6:50pm on 12 Jun 2008, Fifi wrote:

    I'm delighted to see how many first-time froggers are commenting on this story here. It shows that - stunt or not, grandstanding or not - the issue has acquired the profile it lacked before the vote took place.

    Electric Dragon ... good to see you back, mate. Where have you been for so long? (Not locked up on suspicion of holding opinions, I trust?)

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  • 79. At 6:53pm on 12 Jun 2008, misbeat wrote:

    Hoorah for DD, at last an MP who actually takes seriously the job his electorate have entrusted to him. For years I've watched party politics turn our democracy into a an elected dictatorship complete with a surveillance system which the most tyranical dictatator would envy.
    We have been sleep walked into a police state for the duration of this Labour regime, started by Blair and continued by this latest horror and all done by instilling fear into the populace. If Blair hadn't got the vote to illegally invade Iraq (also done using threats to MPs and lies to us) No 10 wouldn't be able to use the scare tactics it has used so shamelessly against us since 2002.
    It isn't the subject matter that's important, it's more the fact that here is an MP who is prepared to put his beliefs and the electorate before his back pocket, his career and party politics.
    I see the move as a great politcal coup on DD's part cos Brown will be damned if a Labour candidate doesn't stand for election and completely humiliated if he does. He will realise that the majority of people don't like the the idea of their rights being insidiously eroded away and the result of this bi-election could trigger a vote of no confidence in Brown and the call for an early election.
    If that happens Brown will have no one to blame but his own pompous, egotistical self.

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  • 80. At 6:54pm on 12 Jun 2008, determinedmaggiej wrote:

    I ,myself, am greatly heartened by david davis' decision and agree with every word of his statement, though I have never voted tory. He has restored my faith in British democracy and expressed for me what I always thought 'britishness' was about.

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  • 81. At 7:08pm on 12 Jun 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    Jean (22) I wholeheartedly agree with you. At the last election, Mr Davis had a majority of 5,000, and judging by the results of the latest local elections, he is VERY unlikely to loose it.
    His decision wasn't announced until a deal with the Lib Dems had been struck. Big Sister (33) I too believe he is playing a safe game, and I would add that he has written his own rules for it.
    Rachel G (77) Your last sentence is spot-on.
    All this talk about ''taking a risk'' is nonsense. David Davis is making a stance, not taking a stand.

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  • 82. At 7:32pm on 12 Jun 2008, Bloghound wrote:

    Brilliant - well done, David. If I had rafters I'd be cheering from them right now. Shame, though, on David Cameron for so quickly distancing himself and damning you with faint praise. Shame also on those ministers who claim to be 'baffled' by your statement. Does Magna Carta mean nothing to them? Did she die in vain?

    What we need now is for this to snowball - LOTS of MP's resigning their seats and forcing by-elections on these issues. It's time the electorate were given the opportunity to rise up in democratic revolt against Gordon Brown's New Totalitarianism. 42 days today means our we'll have our own little Guantanamo tomorrow. Doesn't it make you proud to be British?

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  • 83. At 7:36pm on 12 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    On the World at One, one "David Hill" who was described as "Tony Blair's director of communications" commented: "[David Davis] sounded slightly unhinged".
    So this is how someone who was a Labour "insider" views a man who stands by a principal.
    And he's right. What is this man Davis doing in politics if he cares about more than his salary, his expenses and his pension? Just as well he's resigned, perhaps now he will lose his seat and someone who knows which side his bread is buttered will get elected, put their nose into the trough and not do anything that upsets the cosy little club in Westminster. It's just as well for the annoying little turd that he isn't a member of the Government, they wouldn't tolerate heresy like this the way this bloke Cameron seems to be doing.

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  • 84. At 7:45pm on 12 Jun 2008, JeanVicT wrote:

    Yes, barriesingleton, David Davis is standing as a Conservative, David Cameron has said he will be canvassing for him ...but the party won't pick up the tab. Now who's a dither! There is no courage attached to DD's stand: before making his annouement he spoke to the Liberals and ensured that they would not be putting up a candiate, so his safe seat is even safer. Where's the courage or, indeed, the point, in that? Bit of media attention for David Davis? Sounds about right.

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  • 85. At 8:03pm on 12 Jun 2008, Macreinhardt wrote:

    DDs' resignation may be a planned political stunt, and yes he is unlikely to loose his seat, and yes he is still ultimately a member of the gravey train mob who presume to know better, but atleast he has had the courage to pull the pin and explode the grenade that may finally wake up the British public from their pathetic apathy and misguided belief in locking people away, filming people, and terrorists on every corner!!!. Remember what you guys did in the 18th century? Sent ordinary people to the gallows and to Terra Australis, we already have the highest incarceration rate in the EU. I say good on him for sticking up for what is right, regardless of motive.

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  • 86. At 8:15pm on 12 Jun 2008, JeanVicT wrote:

    K (26) Your last paragraph sums it up so well: impulsive, incoherent attention-seeking stunt. And you are not alone in not knowing what it is to be a Conservative: the Shadow Cabinet are out of touch and out of sinc with their own members - they are in favour of the 42 days!

    On the wider issue, we are right to be concerned and watchful of our Civil Liberties, but we are not pulling a suspect in and locking them up for 42 days: a person could only be locked up for 7 days at a time, and only if a senior judge was convinced that it was necessary.

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  • 87. At 8:30pm on 12 Jun 2008, gallantSocrates wrote:

    Is this little story just another 'Red Herring' swimming in very Blue Water - because did you all not know that David Davis is really Andy McNab just taking a few more weeks off to write another novel. And as 'K' asks: what do these people stand for now - apart from a smaller State, more Privatization and locking up the Working Class who don't go along with ruthless Capitalism, in its present form. (I can never understand how going back to the 18/19 century economical is progress, can you?)....Who are in in essence nothing more than Political Prisoners if the mass media told the truth about our Class divided society where the Rich are getting very Rich while the majority are not doing so well. In fact I did read a book many years ago called the Rich are getting Richer and the Poor go to Prison...mostly about the USA experience but still very relevant to Little Britain..With apologies to Eddie and Lord Sir Alan Sugar of all Barrow boys United (I don't watch such tosh) for making the odd spelling mistake on these blogs...well I did only have 6 years formal Education, left school at 14 and did not go to Oxford...


    Brian V Peck

    PS: Be careful profoudSatita you may end up on a MI5 hit list, like me!!!!

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  • 88. At 8:38pm on 12 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    In Whitehall, they are digging up the pavement, narrowing it to about 1/3 of its previous width and putting in a ~5 foot security wall. What's it supposed to protect against? Not a van bomb, that's for sure. I've seen blast walls around the police barracks in Northern Ireland and they are much more substantial edifices. If they are not there to protect from van bombs what are they for? Parcel bombs? They could by lobbed over them.
    Could it be that their real purpose is to protect the ministries from rioting citizens?
    This country has been living on credit for 10 years. Older readers will remember how the balance of payments used to be reported on the news every month. Have you seen the figures recently? Why not? They have been solidly in the red for 10 whole years. What happens if the credit dries up? Of course that could never happen, just ask any former director of Northern Rock. There are too many people on this island, it cannot feed itself, we have to buy food from abroad... but what will we do it with if we have no readies? We could always use Gold. After all we have plenty of that in the Bank of England, don't we?
    Is the prospect of rioting citizenry so far fetched? Protests need ringleaders, protests can be disrupted if the ringleaders are in gaol, and now they can be held for a full 6 weeks.

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  • 89. At 8:44pm on 12 Jun 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    r those his own teef?

    anyhoo, well done DD you have at the very least, stimulated Froggers, new and old!

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  • 90. At 9:10pm on 12 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    What's wrong with 42 days detention? If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear; and there has never been a miscarriage of justice anywhere, ever.

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  • 91. At 9:19pm on 12 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    If Gordon Brown hasn't bribed the DUP, then he's had someone else do it for him. The DUP will never form a government in London, so the only time they get the power to get their own way is when an incumbent government is over a barrel. They would be abandoning their responsibility towards their constituents if they had let this opportunity pass.

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  • 92. At 9:56pm on 12 Jun 2008, newtactic wrote:

    I just wanted to say that David Davis is unlikely to lose (not loose) his seat in the now necessary by election. Although it is possible he has a "screw loose" in taking this action. We do not live in a police state. As far as I remember, the nearest we had to a "police state" was when they were deployed in large numbers to battle against the pickets in the Thatcher years. Fortunately the police and the law are completely separate institutions from Parliament and will remain so. Don't forget it was the police who investigated the "cash for honours" allegations. And as for Magna Carta. Read it. You'll find the rights granted were very limited. The freedoms and rights were only for those with land and those who could read... sadly there wasn't much in it for us serfs and peasants.

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  • 93. At 10:03pm on 12 Jun 2008, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "Let's remember this is a potential keeping in detention of assumed terrorists," - kniphofia

    And apparently forget this is keeping in detention without charge of *innocent* people?

    Yes - innocent, until proven guilty. That's how the law works in this country, or at least used to. Or did you forget that too?

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  • 94. At 10:04pm on 12 Jun 2008, spidersandsnakes wrote:

    I'm with you 100% DD - this government is controlled by the Stasi. Well done and best of luck...

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  • 95. At 10:11pm on 12 Jun 2008, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    "how can he support 28 days but oppose 42 days" - RachelG

    The same way somebody could support abortion at 28 weeks but oppose it at 42 weeks perhaps? Quite.

    I doubt he really like 28 days either but acknowledges the occasional necessity. 42 days though is purely Brown's posturing to look "tough on terror". Remember last year that 90 days was the magic number we needed - yet somehow Mr "We won't compromise the safety of this country" only now needs 42. So was he lying then or lying now? Or both?

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  • 96. At 10:38pm on 12 Jun 2008, evenmorelovely wrote:

    If a leader of the Conservative Party (eg David Cameron) resigned, you'd think fair enough; if a Prime Minister (eg John Major) resigned, you'd think fair enough.
    But if John Prescott had thought resigning would force the people of Hull's wrath would bring New Labour to its knees,you'd think 'is this the Twilight Zone'?
    What was David's (admittedly deep) strategy?

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  • 97. At 10:46pm on 12 Jun 2008, MellMeredith wrote:

    It's all very well DD stepping down and standing for re election, but who is going to pay for it?

    Why should 'we' pay for him to prove his point?

    It would be even better if nobody stood against him. Then he would have proved nothing and wasted everybody's time and money.


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  • 98. At 11:10pm on 12 Jun 2008, pmMaggie wrote:

    I can't believe a politician has done something surprising and principled. Lunch time today we actually stopped in our tracks and listened open mouthed to David Davis. I can't remember the last time we did that. Bless him for putting his head above the parapet. Bless him for caring about our freedom. I only regret that I can't vote for him.

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  • 99. At 11:17pm on 12 Jun 2008, HarrietWimsey wrote:

    As someone from the North of England who grew up during the 1980s, I developed a visceral loathing of Thatcherism and its proponents which had, I thought, deterred me from ever voting Conservative for any reason at all. Period. Now I wish I was one of David Davis's constituents. I'd vote for him. My own (Labour) MP slunk into line over this monstrous legislation - I'd appreciate the chance of a vote in a referendum on 42 days, however localised.

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  • 100. At 11:23pm on 12 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    What a load of absolute piffle!

    David Davies is outraged that civil liberties are being eroded but found it quite acceptable to vote for people to be detained for 28 days without charge? I need an explanation for his sudden conversion.

    Brave and principled stand? With a 5,000 majority and no effective opposition in his seat? Another explanation please.

    I bet David Cameron is fit to be tied, with this making the headlines.

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  • 101. At 11:24pm on 12 Jun 2008, newtactic wrote:

    I don't think David Davis will lose his seat in a by election although some may think he has a screw loose in tendering his resignation without warning his colleagues and the rest of the Conservative party he might resign if he did not agree with the outcome of the vote. He might also have waited to see what the Lords will do with the bill. Is this perhaps a matter of "act in haste, repent at leisure"?

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  • 102. At 00:04am on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    What's its all about? Its about allerting the silent majority who take little notice of politics, and trust the government of the day to run it all for them, while they get on with the important things in life, to the fact that they are not as free as they were 10 or 20 years ago. Its to motivate all those persons who recognise the constant erosion of their civil liberties, but are passive because they take the very reasonable attitude of "heck what can I do about it". Its about getting an issue that our rulers want to quietly sweep under the carpet out into the open, and get the whole nation talking about it.
    I've just finished watching "Question Time" on BBC1 and the way the rival politicians have gone out of their way to put the boot in and represent the issue as a selfish publicity stunt rather than address the issue which the event raises rather proves the point.

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  • 103. At 00:53am on 13 Jun 2008, evenmorelovely wrote:

    102. You talk about the 'constant erosion of our civil liberties' - on a global website dedicate to freedom of expression!

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  • 104. At 03:30am on 13 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    David Davis:

    It is sad that you have to leave politics..but you have convictions.

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  • 105. At 06:36am on 13 Jun 2008, biglsmith wrote:

    The Labour Party has alerady made the point that this is more a waste of money than a point of principle and I think they're right. Equally, the opportunity for the subsequent election to be some kind of local referendum on 42 days could only be valid if Mr Davis were to leave the Conservative Party and stand against a new Conservative Candidate. Otherwise, the election will amount only to a Conservative constituency re-electing its popular MP - which says nothing about 42 days!

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  • 106. At 08:05am on 13 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    I had to wait before postiong on this as I was surprised at the actions of what I considered a well respected MP. So is DD actually saying in the under currents, Tory senior management I am no wlak over and here I am with my head above, as your political comentators are suggesting or is he eying up a spot on the next celebrity apprentice as he could be without a job is Kelvin Mc is successful??!! BTW Question I would like answering, if he does not get back into politics as an MP, when does his pension which MPs benefit from start and what would be the rate he will be recieving ie full pensionable pay or 2/3rds? or has the MP fund been hit like the local goverenments with ammendments like everyone else in the country??

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  • 107. At 08:42am on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    101. Your comment carries the underlying assumption that all politicians are intersted about is their career. While this is obviously true of much of the filth in Westminster, people who have never done a real job in the real world, who went of from their PPE degrees to become pariliamentary researchers, party functionariers and then politicians, it is not necessarily true of all of them. David Davis obviously thinks that this issue is bigger than his career.

    The same comment applies to you 104.

    105. Read my post 102. This is about raising the issue, making the ordinary people of this country who mistakenly trust their government to work in their best interests, sit up and take notice. How does an individual generate a national debate, David Davis has caused this issue to dominate the news for 1 day now, how many of his statements as Shadow Home Secretary has had nearly as much media attention?

    103. Do you really think that being able to write on an international website compensates for being under constant video surveillance, for potentially being detained without charge for 6 weeks, for not being able to protest in parts of our capital city, for the merging of government databases... the lists goes on?

    106. Your post suggests that all MPs are interested in is what they personally can get out of the system. I would agree with you in the case of most MPs, but since yesterday, David Davis has clearly demonstrated that he is not one of that number.

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  • 108. At 08:47am on 13 Jun 2008, Tomhollings wrote:

    Resigning his seat was not brave and not couragous. It was a cynical move by a headline grabbing politician. With a majority of 5000, it would take a major swing to labour for him to be unseated. He knows full well that this will not happen.

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  • 109. At 08:48am on 13 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    I wonder at which number between 28 and 42, David Davis felt the erosion of liberties became intolerable?

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  • 110. At 08:59am on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    109. You'd have to ask him. Perhaps you should encourage the BBC to organise a phone in or something so that you can have your opportunity.
    I would suggest that there is no clear number, that perhaps he was unhappy about 28 days but allowed himself to be persuaded, maybe against his better judgement. But as David Davis said on TV last night, it's not just about the 42 days it's about all the other encraochments on our civil liberties as well.

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  • 111. At 09:00am on 13 Jun 2008, Patbruce wrote:

    David Davis is entirely right. This government has slowly but surely eroded our civil liberties in an insidious attack on democracy. The process has been in small incremental steps, but the end result is draconian. It has to be stopped and he is to be applauded for bringing the problem to the forefront of our thinking.

    I wish the Press, for once in its vain glorious life, would praise a man of integrity and courage and stop trying to denigrate him. Perhaps it (the Press) does not recognise a man of principle - and that is a very state of affairs as well.

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  • 112. At 09:13am on 13 Jun 2008, bolandista wrote:

    Davis is a trenchant libertarian, which is why he is a Tory. He has brought himself to this sorry position by following his philosophy to its logical conclusion. According to his philosophy, we, as individuals, are to look out for ourselves, no matter how strong or weak we are within society, as opposed to the governments position of using the power of the state to protect us all, irrespective of our standing within society. He has, I am sure, regretted voting for 28 days because it goes against his way of thinking.

    When I first heard he had resigned I just couldn’t help laughing, he reminded me of that famous Spaniard who fought windmills. My second thought was to stand against him without campaigning to allow the seventy percent of his constituency, who support the government on this, somewhere to place their “X”. Having been delayed by the BBC not sending me an email authorizing me to join this blog, I have changed my mind yet again.

    No one should stand against Davis. This would; a) allow him to get back into the house where he belongs having been elected in the general election to represent his constituency, b) negate his strategy, having no one to argue against and return him unopposed, and finally, c) expose him as a 21 century Don Quixote.

    He is finished as a politician. Cameron will not wish his bid for power to be tarnished by a libertarian with such trenchant views, even though most Tories are in awe of the silly man. This awe warns us all of what is in store for the UK should the Tories be the next government, libertarianism.

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  • 113. At 09:56am on 13 Jun 2008, astroGoldfish wrote:

    David Davis has soared in my estimation. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with him on anything before but I’m 100% behind him on this. I have become increasingly frustrated with political journalists who see Westminster as some sort of political soap opera about personalities and relationships. The BBC focused most of their coverage of the 42 days detention vote as some sort of test of Gordon Brown’s political virility. At last someone is trying to get a proper discussion of the issues that really matter and will continue to matter long after the current crop of politicians and journalists are forgotten.

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  • 114. At 09:57am on 13 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    110 - ". . it's about all the other encraochments on our civil liberties as well."

    Sorry, I don't agree. Much as I am against Identity Cards, the existing 28-day powers, etc,, I think this stunt is all about David Davis and his ego! But a big mistake I fear, as I doubt that Cameron will ever have him back in any postion of influence.

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  • 115. At 10:03am on 13 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    (107) I was not pointing at DD directly as he has been an MP for some considerable time and any poor consituancy MP regardless of the faithfull following will have been kickout long ago. There was a reason for asking what I did and this is that I do view the perks, to call them, MP recieve is quite extrodinary when compared to what people in the commercial hardlands of real life recieve. On the 28 or 42 days I think DD position is honerable and I agree with him but there are ways and means and there is something elce, but I still wonder if he actually considered for a minute that this could all backfire on him personally.

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  • 116. At 10:08am on 13 Jun 2008, White_Rat wrote:

    This is a paraphrase of an answer given on 'Question Time' last night; "Having legalised abortion in England, Scotland and Wales Parliament has set the limit at 24 weeks. Why 24 weeks, not 42?" Because their advisors and 'experts' decided this was appropriate given the information at hand, perhaps.

    People with attachments to this very Government, not their opponents, who might be thought to be 'experts' in the field of prosecuting crime, such as the DPP and the former Attorney-General have declared openly that this measure is not required. Why are they not being heeded? Is their opinion biased or valueless?

    It is right that the police can arrest people who are suspected of committing crime. It is right that they can detain them for a finite period of time for questioning and further investigations. There is a point beyond which it is no longer right or just to detain them. It would seem that Davis drew his line in the sand between the acceptable 28 and the unacceptable 42. Who can speak to his conscience and tell him that he's wrong?

    Liberty discovered that the two cases which have got closest to 28 days detention before being charged were actually ready to charge after 6 days and 14 days respectively, but the police held off doing so. There is not even a solid case for 28 days, that's why it must be renewed by Parliament annually.

    Tony McNulty described 28 days as 'an exception to the normal 14 days' last night, then went on to describe 42 days as 'the exception to the exception'. How many layers of exceptions do we need? Will 90 days be the exception to the exception to the exception? What about a year or two as a fourth-layer exception?

    Internment, or detention without trial, doesn't work. Of all the people on this Blog I don't need to remind you of that. It fans the flames of division and leaves a group of people feeling like the state is targetting them, thus adding to the problem that it seeks to counter.


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  • 117. At 10:13am on 13 Jun 2008, mittfh wrote:

    Let me get this straight.

    David Davis resigns, thus forcing a by-election.

    He'll then re-stand as a Conservative for the same seat.

    Given the fact he is shadow Home Secretary, his seat is likely to be a fairly safe Conservative seat. Even safer since the Lib Dems (their nearest rivals) aren't going to contest it. Even safer still if Labour decide not to waste time and money contesting it.

    Especially given the fact David apparently didn't let anyone (let alone party management) know his intentions, is it just me or does anyone detect a whiff of publicity stunt?


    As for the detention limit, both 28 days and 42 days seem rather large. What would be a courageous action of a government would be to overrule MI5 and allow intelligence to be used in open court. There might not be enough intelligence to formally convict and sentence someone of terrorism charges within a few days of detention, but the fact the person has been detained in the first place indicates there must be some degree of intelligence placing suspicion on them. Surely they have the right to know what 'suspicious' activity landed them in detention?

    I fail to see how disclosing the results of intelligence can reveal anything terribly secretive about how the intelligence was obtained. I'm sure many people assume the intelligence services are probably capable of electronically tapping into telephone conversations without needing to place physical devices on the line, or intercepting internet communications.

    On the other hand, 42 days before being charged and brought before an ordinary law court is considerably better than 5 years without charge in jail before being brought before a closed military tribunal - then possibly sentenced to death.

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  • 118. At 10:33am on 13 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    White Rat - Not sure why you address your remarks to me as I totally agree that the push to get to 42 days is a pointless exercise and will in the long run be counter-productive.

    I think that the extension to 28 days was likewise unnecessary and will prove as useful as the diabolical identity card business that is threatened upon us.

    Davis intimates that resigning and standing again is the only way that a 'debate' can be started on this. What a lot of tosh! It doesn't say much for the effectiveness of the Opposition on these points if he feels he has to resort to such a stunt.

    And I wonder if he isn't having some regrets having seen some of today's commentaries.

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  • 119. At 10:56am on 13 Jun 2008, White_Rat wrote:

    Your attack seems to be against libertarianism, rather than Davis? You also betray your ignorance of the philosophy.

    Libertarians are not "out for themselves" as you suggest. The ideal vis-a-vis the State is that the State will make the minimum amount of Laws required to protect the people and take the minimum in resources to do so. It's not a 'Me, me, me' thing. Anyone thinking they are libertarian who grabs what they can regardless of others doesn't have a clue what it's about.

    Its position with regard to others can be summed up in a line from a Chris Rea song 'Nothing to fear' "If I leave you, leave me alone". That each may live his/her own life in the style they wish, free of unwanted interference from others and crucially having absolute respect for the law and for the equal rights of others to do as they please in turn.

    It's an admirable philosophy in many ways, acknowledging the rights of others and being treated equally yourself in return.

    It's not the preserve of any political body either. People normally link it broadly to the Right, which generally advocates small Government and a reduction of the State. But you can be a Left libertarian, respecting the lives and rights of others is not the preserve of any party, indeed many genuine Socialists and Social Democrats are profoundly respectful of the dignity and freedom of human life.

    It comes down to how much you advocate big Government, how much you wish to take from others, both in liberty and taxes, how much you think that the State should regulate the lives of citizens and interfere in the rights of the free.


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  • 120. At 11:21am on 13 Jun 2008, hannibalspiggins wrote:

    Murdoch / The Manchurian Candidate

    No one should be surprised that Rupert Murdoch is fielding a candidate (Kelvin Mackenzie) against David Davis in his campaign for re-election.
    Murdoch has spent years courting the ‘Big Government’ in Beijing. Maybe the Sun proprietor would like Britain to follow the approach to civil liberties that the Chinese government adopts

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  • 121. At 11:24am on 13 Jun 2008, White_Rat wrote:

    You wrote "the fact the person has been detained in the first place indicates there must be some degree of intelligence placing suspicion on them".

    Like the Muslim family in Forest Gate whose son was shot in a small-hours armed police raid, and who were released without charge and compensated?

    Like Jean Charles de Menezes? They didn't even bother trying to detain him!

    Better that 10 guilty men walk free than one man be falsely imprisoned or killed for the sake of bad information. Besides the terms 'police intelligence' and 'military intelligence' are frequently a contradiction in terms.

    You're right to say that they must be told what they are suspected of, that's the point of Habeas Corpus, "Produce the Body", in this case the body of evidence against the suspect.

    It was your 109, which seemed to suggest that 28 days was fine, so what's the big deal about a change to 42. Why make a fuss about it?

    Plainly I misinterpreted your position. Sorry.

    If Davis has read many comments on Nick Robinson's Blog or this one, or elsewhere, written by the same Joe Public that's supposed to be in favour of 42 days, then he might draw some satisfaction and comfort from what seems to be the almost overwhelming public support for his stance against that same 42 days.

    Those against him often seem driven by party politics, than a consideration of the merits of his argument. But then there are plenty of examples of "I never thought I'd consider voting for a Tory, but..." lying around the comments columns (see 71 and 76 above for a couple of quick examples).

    Could it be that the hacks and politicos have misread/misrepresented public opinion? Surely not!


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  • 122. At 11:53am on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    117. Of course it's a publicity stunt. And it's worked marvellously so far. He has got the whole country discussing the issue of personal liberties. Would any of us be posting here on this subject had he not? But the point is, it's not a publicity stunt in favour of David Davis as a celebrity, it's a publicity stunt highlighting how our personal freedoms are being taken from us all.

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  • 123. At 12:02pm on 13 Jun 2008, laidbackliadback wrote:

    Re 95. I suppose a termination at 42 weeks is a death, given that 40 weeks is birth? Nice try to link the two, pity it failed.

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  • 124. At 12:10pm on 13 Jun 2008, Edith Crispin wrote:

    I'm dying to find out how Tory readers of the Sun will vote. Or the Joe and Jane Publics who would vote back hanging and national service and placing all young people under curfew after 9pm.

    I suspect that is is going to become a Laura Norder tussle between the bombastic MacKenzie and Michael Heseltine's heir.

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  • 125. At 12:12pm on 13 Jun 2008, utilly wrote:

    I just wanted to add a quick "me too" to the chorus of people who suffered misery under Tories of the 80s and 90s (twice to court over the Poll Tax) who feel moved to voice some admiration for DD's resignation over the 42 days.

    As a former life long Labour supporter, the Iraq War lost them my vote. The whole ID card thing has put the tin lid on it for me.

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  • 126. At 12:33pm on 13 Jun 2008, lightspout wrote:

    Not surprisingly, Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti lauds and honours her friend David Davis's stand on 42 days detention, citing his passion for civil liberties. To reinforce all this passion, she cited "another friend" MP Diane Abbott who spoke against 42 days detention in the House. Pity Ms Abbott isn't quite so passionate about the civil liberties of gay men, given that she is quite happy to blithely dismiss 'artist' Bhuju Banton's promotion of the violent murder of gay men as "silly" and "slightly controversial" (recent Desert Island Discs). I suggest Ms. Chakrabarti joins up the dots on ALL civil liberties issues, and not just those her high profile 'mates' selectively espouse. There is no heirarchy of entitlement when it comes to human rights, and I'd expect Liberty's Director to be a lot more circumspect when it comes to hitching herself to the wagon of Abbott's double standards. With friends like these...

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  • 127. At 1:00pm on 13 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    (122 saucermaische) The tragic issue is that under either government, centre left or centre right, there is still 28 days which is as mentioned above a fall back position. The senarios discussed on this have not convinced me it is the correct coarse of action, so Blairs 90 days gives you a good idea of what i though of him.... Debate reactivated , yes, good for the DD machine, I think not and celebrity BB could all that he could be looking forward to like georgous geoge did!!
    DD I think has not fully thought through what will happen when he resigned and if he thought he was being ignored by the consevative senior management before this will only given them a good reason to carrying on doing so..

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  • 128. At 1:03pm on 13 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    I am sitting in a motorway car park and there are lorries with Northern Ireland number plates carry port barrels towards towards the Belfast ferry.

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  • 129. At 1:05pm on 13 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    No wait.. a lorry just left and one fell off the back and broke open. It was not port inside it was pork.

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  • 130. At 1:34pm on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    127. "Good for the DD machine, I think not... DD, I think has not fully thought through what will happen when he resigned".
    The underlying assumption here is that he cares more about his political career than about his principals. Indeed this assumption is shared by many of the political commentators who have made disparaging remarks on David Davis's stance.
    The opinion on this blog seems to separate into those who believe that he is an honest man who has put principal before his personal position, and those who believe him to be a cynical man manoeuvring for self advantage... and getting it wrong.
    The man has risen from a disadvantaged background to become an accomplished manager in industry, and then a senior politician, so he is clearly no fool. Perhaps, he knows exactly what he is doing, and actually believes in the principal he is resigning over.

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  • 131. At 3:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, Dusto-Fages wrote:

    Listening to DD on the radio this morning a thought struck me:
    - What would Labour politicians have done if this were a Tory proposal from a Tory Government?
    - What would DD have done if this were a Tory proposal from a Tory Government?
    Alas, we shall never know!

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  • 132. At 3:48pm on 13 Jun 2008, Norman_the_geordie wrote:

    Regardless of anyone's view on the 42 day issue, David Davis' actions need to be seen for what they are.

    This is a self serving publicty stunt by someone who is positioning himself as a future Prime Minister.

    Let's face it, the current incumbent is incompetent, and the leader of the opposition weak and indecisive.

    I truly hope Mr. Davis' falls flat on his face for such a manipulative move.

    My vote would go to the guy from The Sun

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  • 133. At 4:17pm on 13 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    (130) Your correct except, there is always the first and the reaction and what happens next and he expects to happen will be entirely different because this is politics in the UK with a very hard and hard to please press. From what I understand as this unfolds further is there is a defining silence from his old boss....Dave is not saying much and thats something DD needs to concerned about. There is being seen to be supportive and actually being supportive.

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  • 134. At 4:18pm on 13 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    Can I just add I think the principle that he resigned his seat over could have been kept in the public eye in a better way than, resigning his seat.

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  • 135. At 4:27pm on 13 Jun 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Oh, gah, not Kelvin McKenzie.

    They're all as bad as the other. I'd vote for Spoiled Ballot.

    Having said that, and not having read the whole thread, I'm otherwise with Norman and mindclearly.

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  • 136. At 4:28pm on 13 Jun 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    btw, k (124), I might vote for Michael Heseltine's hair. It's always been rather remarkable.

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  • 137. At 6:27pm on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    Throughout New Labour's time in office they have been agonizing over voter apathy. I wonder why voters are apathetic? Today Ireland voted against the EU Constitution (sorry Treaty). So that's over, finished... but our government shows its contempt for democracy by continuing preparations to ratify it. David Davis resigns to fight a by-election on the subject of civil rights and the government party shows its contempt for democracy by suggesting that it won't field a candidate that will argue their case. Can you see a common thread here?

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  • 138. At 6:31pm on 13 Jun 2008, sauermaische wrote:

    Gordon Brown has described David Davis's actions as "a stunt that has turned into a farce". If so, it has only because Gordon Brown has chosen to turn it into one.

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  • 139. At 6:51pm on 13 Jun 2008, Kerouac4fan wrote:

    I expect this has been said before, but:
    At first I thought there was mutiny in theTory ranks.
    But he hasn't resigned from the party he'srebelling against Brown/New Labour's
    move with the anti-terrorist 42 day
    This makes me wonder if behind it is
    a crafty Tory plot to smear Labour as
    the draconian party (which maybe in
    this case they are) while making it
    appear as if the Tories are liberal at
    heart and squeaky clean, therefore more
    fit for power (in the next election).
    You'll remember Martin Bell done this
    (wore a white suit as a protest against
    Tory sleaze in the mid-nineties) and
    that may have helped get New Labour
    into power.
    An interesting move.

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  • 140. At 6:54pm on 13 Jun 2008, simone1980 wrote:

    Thank goodness some politicians are prepared to stand up against the spineless majority now making decisions on our behalf to ensure our 'democracy' is safe.

    It is shameful, utterly diabolical, that Britain's 1000 year old tradition of Habeus Corpus is to be discarded. Despicable.

    The government seems to be making a habit of holding expensive enquiries, receiving advice not to go ahead with certain bills, and then go out of its way to disregard such expert advice from experienced individuals such as Sir Peter Foyle.

    Please, if you do one thing today, watch George Galloway's passionate, intelligent voice in the wilderness pleading for MPs not to vote for 42 days' detention.

    It is easy for the government to push him aside as a 'firebrand' or 'renegade maverick' who is just out to grab headlines.

    Remember how Churchill was similarly portrayed in parliament when he attempted to persuade parliament that Hitler was a menace to the security of Europe in 1939?

    Even as prime minister during that conflict, 42 days' detention was never considered, even then.

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  • 141. At 8:13pm on 13 Jun 2008, newtactic wrote:

    107... I don't think all politicians are interested in is their career. But surely they owe it to their constituents, who elected them, to represent them in the House of Commons. And they owe it to their party to give plenty of warning about any intention of resigning their position. Especially an important one such as Shadow Home Secretary. This controversial bill is likely to be altered or even thrown back to the Commons by the Lords. It has only passed its first stage and has a long way to go before it goes on the statute books. These are all the reasons I find it hard to understand this resignation and particularly the timing and the (apparent) lack of forethought about it. It seems to me to show some contempt for the parliamentary system.

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  • 142. At 11:51pm on 14 Jun 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    What a great post. Just shows all us regular bloggers that WE are the very few in number and importance.

    This time the many have spoken and it is a marvellous thunderous sound.

    My fear is that we are about to see a ritual humiliation in British politics (of David Davis) such as we have never seen before. John Major and Gordon Brown will seem to be let off lite by comparison.

    Et meus, Brute? Well. yes, I'm afraid so. 'Cos this man is RIGHT, but right about this alone.

    As Tory Defence Shadow he was given access to all the papers pre the Iraq War but somehow couldn't quite fathom that Tony Blair was b*llsh*t*ng.

    Davies has both party establishments hoping for his downfall, for he will not, except by a miracle, change public opinion decisively.

    Those establishments will crucify him.

    No change there, then for someone speaking the truth.

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  • 143. At 01:00am on 15 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    it is sad that david davis is resigning...at least he is a true politician...


    ~i hope you will re-enter the field your dreams down the road, and rebuild our politics to the glory days.

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  • 144. At 5:38pm on 15 Jun 2008, Sid wrote:

    Big Sister (33) - "He will probably be returned to the post of shadow Home Secretary."

    I would be very surprised if that happened. Cameron very quickly appointed someone else (and not as 'acting' shadow) and has made it quite clear that DD is on his own.

    So if there is a by-election, he'll be back as a back-bench MP, with no prospect of a front-line job under Cameron.

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