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Westminster rumours

Nick Robinson | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

Rumours are sweeping Westminster about a row involving David Davis the Tory shadow home secretary and his leader David Cameron. Friends of Mr Davis deny that he is resigning but confirm that something's going on, will bring you more as soon as we have it.

UPDATE, 12:55PM: A senior Conservative source described David Davis's decision to resign as an MP as 'a personal decision' which Mr Cameron only learnt of late last night and went on to say that Mr Davis' by-election campaign would be personal and not be backed by the full resources of Conservative HQ. Another source described the decision as 'weird'.


  • Comment number 1.

    Seems like something fishy is going on here.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why has he resigned?? What was the trigger.

    In my mind he's the most impressive member of the Tory team along with Hague.

    What on earth is going on?!

  • Comment number 3.

    It's rather difficult to comment without any facts and I'm not relying on salacious gossip. The Tories in here may wish to note that after their performance over the 42 day affair. No, don't all rush to thank me at once.

  • Comment number 4.

    This shows how sincere and genuine were the feelings of David Davis. We are losing a great and genuine conservative libertarian.

    Davis' resignation speech is SPOT ON! he is a hero of every free human living within our islands.

  • Comment number 5.

    It is TIME to fight the totalitarian fascism building within these lands.

  • Comment number 6.

    So, it's not all sweetness and mateyness within Dave Snooty's pals. Did we ever think it was ? ... well, yes, actually. The news media would have us believe that politics in Britain today was a simple matter... Labour = incompetence, u-turns and in-fighting, Tory = focus, unity of purpose and competence. Now we know it's not that simple. " The government is playing politics" is what Mr. Davis has just said ..... so, resigning your seat to fight a totally unnecessary by-election just to make a point isn't ? Bring it on !

  • Comment number 7.

    David Davis, I could hug you. At last a parliamentarian with guts. At last a man with honour. I offer my whole support, for what its worth you may say. Maybe all those labour MPs who voted against their own government should do the same.

  • Comment number 8.

    The BBC news report says he's resigning as he's a passionate opponent of 42 days detention, but he's going to fight a by-election without party backing on the 42 days issue?

    So according to the BBC he's resigned because he agrees with his party's position, that makes no earthly sense.

  • Comment number 9.

    finally a politician of principle.

  • Comment number 10.

    As we are hearing on the BBC news, the BBC are now painting this as a tory rift, rather than the fight against totalitarianism that is inching it's way over our land with an increasing insidiousness. Like a frog being slowly boiled alive by tiny increments in temperature, we are being slowly consumed within a state of creeping fascism.

    It is now described as a one man crusade to fight the state.... BUT for god's sake, SOMEBODY HAD TO!!!

    Who else was going to stand up and defend the liberty of the people of these great Isles?


  • Comment number 11.

    I'm with #'s 4 and 5 (although by peaceful political means), I think his speech was excellent.

    You know what I'd vote for him, for once a politician is making a personal stand over principle and risking it all.

    Bravo Sir, bravo.

    Its a shame all those Labour MP's (Im looking at you Clare Short) didnt have the guts to do this over Iraq.

    Nick, not that you read these blogs, will he be running as a Tory or as an independent?

  • Comment number 12.

    Surely when David Davis wins, as I am certain he will, the Gordon Brown must resign and call a general election. I never had any faith in the public support for the 42 days detention. This will be the proof if any was needed.

  • Comment number 13.

    Purpledogzzz, for heaven's sake grow up! I'm as dead against the 42 day detention period as anyone else, but to talk in such terms as "totalitarian fascism" is frankly ludicrous. It's also a complete insult to the victims of real facism, many of whom are still alive.

  • Comment number 14.

    What a moron. Way to derail the Conservative revival for selfish gain.

  • Comment number 15.

    #8, Agreed. If he wants to get the public to express it's opinion on 42 days then the thing to do is to fight the by-election as a Tory candidate. Perhaps the real reason is that Cameron's opposition to it is purely tactical and he is actually quite happy to see Labour take the hit for implementing it. Davis is a true libertarian and he would want to scrap it entirely, as Cameron won't commit to that as a manifesto pledge Davis is forcing the issue.

  • Comment number 16.

    Has anything like this happened before, Nick? I don't remember hearing about anything like this before!

  • Comment number 17.

    I would not imagine that chad sexington would understand this. Labour and the BBC will not understand this as they are all blind or complicit to the creeping totalitarianism that IS constantly removing, bite by tiny bite, our long cherished freedoms.

    This is NOT an internal party matter, this is a MASSIVE MATTER OF PRINCIPLE and Davis has BRILLIANTLY captured the media to show that the country has HAD ENOUGH!

    This shows clearly that Davis is not wholly controlled by the same people that control both Cameron and Brown!

  • Comment number 18.

    I side with the Prime Minister who has said the media could have done more to present the facts. This issue has been very fact light, and their analysis of the available facts has been very poor. They need to take responsibility for that.

    I also think the Tories have been too carried away with their greed for power. Other people interested in their own careers and ratings have bought into that emotional Tower of Babel. And that's before we get into the vanity of gesture politics.

    Unless Nick stops fueling hysteria for ratings my decision to take his blog off my RSS by the end of Friday looks like the right one. This is no longer news and playing with policy like this isn't entertaining. It's just a Beer House Putsch.

  • Comment number 19.

    Carlin, look up "fascism" that is the direction in which we are heading! we are not getting any closer to freedom are we?

  • Comment number 20.

    Once in a very infrequent while a politician rekindles trust in the political process. Today is such a day.

    Having just heard that the lib dems won't put up a candidate to oppose him, the election maybe somewhat tilted in his favour. That is not to take anything away from the principled stand he is taking.

    There's bound to be a gret deal of analysis and probing of the relationship with David Cameron. Put that to one side, David Davis deserves all our thanks for this opportunity to defend Manga Carta.

  • Comment number 21.

    Are you just annoyed the Tory's have kept you out the loop in this? I don't accept at all your compirson of Cameron and Davis to Brown and Blair - what rubbish.
    I doubt there was any row between Cameron and David over this - I actually suspect Cameron will have given him the green light.
    I commend Davis's decision - an MP who actually stands up for what he believes - it's what we want to see.

  • Comment number 22.

    Lid Dems wont be standing against him (according to 5Live).

    Well done the Lib Dems [if its true].

    Why not all the tories and the lib dems resign and call by elections? Unlikely but good fun.

    I'm actually really excited and charged about this for the first time in a long time

  • Comment number 23.

    Seems likely that this will bring to the fore the already disclosed donor Davies shared with his leadership Campaign Manager Derek Conway.

    When last this was in the public eye Davies suddenly remembered that he had written a letter to Gordon brown some months previously and not received a reply.

    18 hours media brou ha ha re the letter, no further mention of his association with Conway and donor.


  • Comment number 24.

    It is coming to something when the person who stands up for civil liberties in the UK is the Conservative Home Affairs Spokesman. I've never voted Tory but if I were in DD's constituency I certainly would (for a by-election at least).

  • Comment number 25.

    David Davies is a man who always ploughed his own furrow, and is now prepared to stand up to the erosion of the fundamental freedoms our society , ID cards, DNA,CCTV, and holding for 42 days without trial ..

    Well done David you have my full support and hope the conservative party machine will support you, if not all the bloggers on this site should support you as a man of principle because that's what the majority have been posting over the last few months..

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm afraid I can't agree with TAG Griffin's assessment. Even if Davis is returned at the by-election by an increased majority (which will certainly happen given the fact that the Lib Dems are abstaining), he doesn't have the right to claim that as an endorsement for repealing the 42 day detention limit. Most people will be voting on general issues rather than this particular one. This strikes me as an utterly futile gesture which, unfortunately, won't have the slightest effect on the government's anti-terrorism policy.

  • Comment number 27.

    Does anyone know whether the new Shadow Home Sec is an old Etonian or not?

    If he is (not going to be a woman is it?) then Old Etonians are a majority of the Tory Front Bench, most probably a first.

    Going for some sort of domination I guess . . .

  • Comment number 28.

    Purpledogzzz, when someone misuses the term fascism in such a childish, cavalier manner, it usually means one of two things: either they don't have much of an argument; or they're some sort of chippy adolscent who's just been grounded by their parents. I haven't decided which category you fall into yet.

    Perhaps you should go and look up the horrors committed by authentic fascism in Nazi Germany before you continue to deluge this message board with your juvenile hysteria and sloganising.

  • Comment number 29.


    "I side with the Prime Minister..." Well that’s no surprise... :-)

    I for one will miss you if you leave the "hall" as you like to call it.

    We may have differing points of view but you've always provided food for thought and a sometimes amusing slant on the rants in here.

    Good luck and I hope you stay!

  • Comment number 30.

    Purpledogzz insults people on the politics forum too? great, I thought we were only treated to his "wit" and "wisdom" on the formula one board..

    As for people saying what a brave parliamentarian and so forth, is it really so brave to fight a by election against a government that's riding so low in the poll's after asking the other main party to step aside?

    If he'd done it in 1997 or 2001, or even against a full field of runners that might've been brave, doing it now, in this manner, it looks like what it is, a huge waste of tax payers money to reach a foregone conclusion for the sake of one mans vanity.

    Although if he did contrive to lose it would be perhaps the funniest thing in politics in living memory.

  • Comment number 31.

    Re: 22

    What a great idea ... if the whole of the Parliamentary Conservative Party resigned and then stood in by-elections and won them ..... er, they'd still be in opposition ... just like David Davis will be when he wins his by-election..

  • Comment number 32.

    David Davis well done, I am fed up with this Government doing the terrorists job for them. We have become a country whose population is spied upon at every opportunity in then name of security. If this government had its way we would be tattooed at birth and DNA recorded on ID cards.

    We have to put a stop to politicians no longer being the servants of the country but becoming the masters.
    Gordon Brown just doesn't get it, he never has, he really does want to interfere in every minute of every one's life. He showed it as Chancellor, he has continued doing so as PM. "I know what is best for you" is his mantra but it is wrong.

    We will now have a decent debate in the country and on radio and TV rather than the pathetic 6 hours in the House of Commons on the fundamental assault on our Freedom.

  • Comment number 33.

    Given that opinion polls are claimed to support the 42 days proposal, asking the public to vote for him _against_ the 42 days sounds very high risk for Davis. No wonder Cameron doesn't like it - if Davis was to lose it would reverse the progress the Tories have made.

    The public do not like being asked to turn out for elections for the personal reasons of the candidate - witness candidates who have disputed election results and forced a rerun.

    Davis must have some personal ambition from this.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ CEH, So you admit that Brown had very few facts to support 42 days? and in childish petulance you demand that this forum be taken down, because a vast majority of this nation are sick and tired of being harassed and railroaded into a police state? That cherished freedoms won with the lives of millions over the years are being gradually eroded and replaced with an authoritarian government who does not trust it's own population to be free. Are you really upset that we finaly have a man of true courage and conviction, who has managed to harness a compliant media to shin the spotlight of publicity on how we are losing our freedoms? You are free to support whomever you like, but in supporting Brown, I hope that you like being microchipped and kept in work camps because that it what the "elite" have planned for us "useless eaters". This has been documented for decades and finally an MP has the GUTS to say STOP!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    I doubt there was any row between Cameron and David over this - I actually suspect Cameron will have given him the green light.

    Cameron is an ad man. He knows that unhappiness sells product, and the misinformation and social unrest he's encouraging by his bully boy leadership is driving that. I'm sure he carefully calculated the current polls and media attention would give him an easy win in a safe seat with zero ad money being spent. That's not principle. That's just opportunism.

    Bullies like Cameron use the "act first apologise later" strategy. This is a weakness in British law that allows big corporations to rip people off, rogue landlords to inflict misery in peoples lives, and cheats and liars to scoop armfuls of gold from the treasure chest. His "who me?" look and "family friendly" tone don't fool anyone with half a clue.

    The Tories are painting themselves as a saviour while their core policies and carefully hidden attitudes are the very threat they're pretending to save us from. The court house bullying style, broken policies, and lack of clarity on what they will do after winning their self-styled war is George W. Bush politics in a can.

    /slow sarcastic clap.
  • Comment number 36.

    If I see any sign of the lib dems becoming aligned with the Conservative party. I personally, and maybe others that vote for them in areas like Newcastle will drop them like a hot brick. It seems now they want to help david davies win a by-election

    If Clegg decides he wishes to support the Conservatives. Does he not mind being seen as a Cameron Mini-Me?

  • Comment number 37.

    A friend of mine informs me that there are two reasons for this.

    One is that Cameron is against making the 42 day a manifesto promise to remove it if the Tories are elected.
    The second is that David Davies had hot arguments with other Tory MPs who voted in favour of the 42 days.

    Are these the first cracks, or are they just a phoney way of Tory's new politics? We shall see.

    Nick, I would have expected you to actually say who and where you might have acquired information about some deals for the 42 days to go through, not just a question of who's arm did the PM twist to get the votes!

    This constant battering of the PM is now backfiring Nick, and just like you, I would have worked hard to change the Tory leadership and move forward steadily, rather then stick to a PR politics. Ex Tories have had enough of this palava!

    As for the petrol tax, the EU is against any of it's member states to reduce taxes on fuel as this would actually be counterproductive and would increase the speed of price rises. The EU is only in favour of help to the poorest in the way the UK is doing for the elderly and the disable, just like what’s happening in Germany. No country in the world is cutting fuel tax to decrease the price of fuel. Any suggestion by the Mail and the Express is tantamount idiotic suggestions!

    Have a nice day Nick.

  • Comment number 38.

    The Byelection will most probably be about cctv etc on roads where loonies drive too fast . . .

    Surveillance on the others, not me! will be his slogan, sort of fascism of the C21st.

    You betcha!

  • Comment number 39.

    Well done and thanks David Davis.

    His principled will keep this insidious 42 days issue in the public spotlight and - most importantly - keep it linked to the governments other authoritarian tendencies such as ID cards and a national DNA database.

    This should be above party politics, but the last time New Labour had a senior member half as principled as David Davis, he too resigned. His name was Robin Cook.

  • Comment number 40.

    The issue of 42 days is of little interest outside of the Westminster bubble and the political activists and bloggers with too much time on their hands.

    Politicians and the media should be spending more time addressing the the issues that are of primary concern to the electorate
    - Rising Cost of Oil (and all the products dependant on it)
    - The economic downturn and impacts of the credit crunch.

    If Brown and Cameron can deliver coherent policies on these issues - they will be on their way to election victory - and we'll be spared the melodramas of close votes and irrelevant resignations.

  • Comment number 41.

    Charles_E_Hardwidge @18

    So Chuck, is this a threat or a promise?

    And will you be taking all your zen hogwash with you when you depart to pastures new? Have you tries crystals or aromatherapy?

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm 100% with #8 on this. The story so far is completely baffling. If he's resigned because he's an opponent of the 42 day detention, then surely he must have noticed that the rest of his party was opposed to 42 day detention as well?

    I'm sure there's something we're not being told.

    Unless he's starting a new tradition of resigning when the other side votes against you. Now that would be a fantastic development if it were to catch on.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was not impressed when I first heard that Davis had decided to trigger a by election in his own constituency, but having watched his speech, I think I have possibly just witnessed the most impressive parliamentary performance since Robin Cook spoke against the Iraq war.

    Well done Davis, you bring credibility to the Tory front line when in the absence of firm policies it is much needed.

  • Comment number 44.

    Pat, too true, but if they all come in with an increased majorities, then the Government have no mandate to push this travesty through

  • Comment number 45.

    UK Politics is now inhabited by irrelevent spineless non-entities, good to see someone stand up and not being bought off. Congrats David Davis, if he started his own political party with the sole aim of erasing every trace of New Labour from political history, he would romp home as PM at the next election.

  • Comment number 46.

    Gordon Brown just doesn't get it, he never has, he really does want to interfere in every minute of every one's life.

    Gordon Brown is focused on giving people opportunity and is extending the political power of local communities. That's pretty much a fact and there's policy pushed through through that proves it.

    I wonder where people get their lies from but, I forget, this is the internet. Slap out any made up fact to get the win and collect the seratonin buzz. British politics and society has problems and that doesn't help.

    I for one will miss you if you leave the "hall" as you like to call it.

    Thanks, but I've been around politics and online forums enough to know when things have fallen through the floor, and a change is as good as a rest. I'll just have to find another way of burning off some 20% time.

    Nick's getting too salacious again and too many people who just want to argue have wound up in here. Sure, it gets a "buzz" and it's "fun" but it's not my sort of thing. Life is short and I've got some living to do.
  • Comment number 47.

    What a hero David Davis is - hell, if I was a constituent of his, I'd break the habit of a life time and trundle out to vote.
    This government and its shameful leader have to be stopped from imposing their Nazi regime upon us.

  • Comment number 48.

    At last a politician who puts principle before personal gain and position.
    He shames the majority. Well done sir.

  • Comment number 49.

    If it's a matter of principle, he presumably advocates pushing the period that someone can be detained without charge back to 7 days or whatever it was when the Conservatives left office?

  • Comment number 50.

    While I am opposed to 42 days and pretty much everything else that Gordon has his mitts on, I really struggle to see the point of this.

    DD resigns, fights a by-election campaign, wins and becomes a member of the minority opposition party who are opposed to 42 day detension. Which is exactly where he started from?

    There are only two outcomes from this.

    1. He loses and scores the biggest own goal in British political history.
    2. He wins and we are exactly where we started from with no change and 42 days still destined to be blocked in the Lords.

    Where is the win here for the anti 42-day issue? He won't suddenly have any magic powers to block government legislation or increase the Tory vote count. I just dont get it. What we need are Labour MPs doing this, not Tory.

    I suppose it keeps the issue in the public eye for longer, but at the cost of presenting a 'Tory split' spin to Labour. I just cant see the sense of it.

    Fingers crossed he has some secret insight into how this will bring about the downfall of GB, which we are all missing.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thankfully someone has the common wit to stand up against the ballot yesterday. My question is to those labour MPs who rebelled against the Oaf to do the same. Oh wait hold on if they did it would cause a by-election in their area, and going on recent records I don't think they would win.

    The big brother state is here people, but the question is will the bill go through the Lords, me thinks not.

    Mr Davis congratulations on standing up against this shameful act.

  • Comment number 52.

    Carlin, Nazi Germany was not actually fascist, that is a convenient label placed by history and Hitler's opponents in the west at the time, (many of whom were fascists). The Nazis were national socialists and became a vile and viscous stain on humanity.

    Fascism is the integration of state with the corporations in a totalitarian manner that reduces the freedom of the individual and abuses and scapegoats a specific racial/religious group to spread fear and hatred amongst the population in support of aggressive policies and wars.

    labour does match that analysis to a degree.

    The Government increasingly use private and corporate power to track and control, passing laws that benefit private corporations who profit from their security apparatus being used on the population as a whole. Who is going to implement the ID card scheme? A private company, who is going to control the databases on behalf of the government? private corporations. Who will microchip the population? and YES that IS planned.

    Of the 14 classic signs of a fascist Government, the UK government matches 10 of them.

    The only ones MISSING are rampant nationalism, as this would block the way to a nation called the "EU". another one missing is "obviously faked elections or no elections at all". but when the labour party can get a majority of 67 seats with the support of 22% of the TOTAL population, who needs to fake the elections? Another sign missing is the fact that religion and government are not intertwined. The last missing sign is rampant sexism.

    Every other sign is being introduced in a subtle step-by-step way and this is what we MUST resist.

    I did NOT say we ARE a fascist nation, I said that IS the direction in which we are heading.

    The USA under GW Bush matched EVERY ONE of these signs by the way.

    It is easy to dismiss fascism when you do not know what it is, or falsely associate it with Nazi Germany. That was a cruel and barbaric dictatorship. I am not saying that the UK IS like that, I am saying that we are slowly heading in that direction. and David Davis is a hero for standing up to it!

    We are much less free than we were in 1997 and we are not getting any freer.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well done Mr.Davis !

    It's about time somebody stood up against this current Orwellian Society we are currently living in.

    Mr.Davis is right in saying that our liberties and traditional values are being slowly eroded under the umbrella of fighting terrorism.

    Good on you!

  • Comment number 54.

    It's easy to see this as vanity. It may well be - he is a politician afer all. But all the same he's forsaking his salary, career and no doubt burning a few political bridges in the process. He's either more vain than a pampered pop diva or he has principles. I choose to believe he has principles as well as the required political vanity.

    All the comments about a fascist state and their rebukes, well it's easy to jump in with the odd Hitler analogy and just as easy to counter it by saying "this is Britain, we're nothing like that". Truth is a grey colour in non trivial issues, not the black and white that many would like it to be.

    Rather than invoke Hitler, I would highlight the apocryphal story of the humble frog, sitting patiently as the heat is turned up on his pan of water. Will he never learn to jump out before he's medium rare ?

    How hot is the water for you - 42 days detention without charge, CCTV cameras, ID cards, DNA being held without conviction etc...

  • Comment number 55.

    Quietzapple, David davis never mentioned speed cameras. he is not against surveillance cameras, IF they are used properly and not abused, and IF they are able to cut crime.

    More often than not they do NOTHING to cut crime. They are only used in 3% of cases and there are many examples of them being used illegally to monitor people through windows in their own homes.

    It is the ABUSE in the use of these cameras that he is rightly opposed to.

    As for everything else he said, he is spot on. This labour government are turning this country into a police state and it must STOP!

  • Comment number 56.

    A man of principle.

    What will be the NewLabour response, one wonders? They're not good at back foot politics and they are definitely on the back foot now.

    When Lord Falconer and his fellow NewLabour peers stand up and reject this bill then Gordon Brown will be left to present the only doctrine he has; that of the totalitarian state.

    Three cheers for democracy.

    (and it looks like a raspberry blown to Gordon Brown)

  • Comment number 57.

    This is a no brainer.

    He stands down.

    He stands in the election.

    Wins by a mile.

    Dave loses next General Election.

    Dave goes.

    And the next Tory hero up is?

    Tories! What would we do without them?

  • Comment number 58.

    A very clever bit of Conservative strategy, I suspect.

    Not only does it keep 42 days and ID cards in the spotlight it points up the fact that it's an awful long time since a Labour member even contemplated resigning. They won't even go after making cock-ups, let alone on principle.

    Let's rebuild some trust in politics.

  • Comment number 59.

    Now if only a few MP's were to do the same over the Lisbon Constitution "no you can't have a say after all" referendum and force some further by-elections. I wonder what "the listening (well not when you say what we don't want to hear) government" would do then?

  • Comment number 60.

    I find this as extraordinary as a Government employing an official daft enough to leave a top secret file on the train. Equally isn't it odd that the person who "found" it handed it in to the BBC? Don't we usually rush such sensitive things to the nearest police station?

  • Comment number 61.

    I have got a lot of time for David Davis but I cannot support him on this. He is talking about historical hard won freedoms.

    Yes OK.

    But in practicle term we are talking about Islamic terrorism. That these people exist in Britain is an unfortunate truth. That we cannot legislate just for them is also unfortunate.

    As a non muslim indigenous Englishman, do I feel that I or anybody in my family is losing out as a result of this law? No I do not. I am sure nor does the vast majority of people in this country.

    Only terrorists and their sympathisers need be concerned by this new law - something that does not bother me in the slightest.

    I want my family and my property to be safe. Preserving the legality of a document created out of King John's problems with his Barons is not something high on my priority list.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    Charles E, if Cameron is merely an ad man, what does that make Gordon in forcing through 42 days with arm twisting and bribery?

    A used car salesman perhaps?

  • Comment number 64.

    And your point is?................................................................................. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • Comment number 65.

    The people on here who seem perplexed at Davis' decision given his consistency with the party line have, I think, misunderstood what he's done here. Davis has been a proficent shadow home secretary and has won the argument on both 28 and 42 days in the face of Labour indifference and progressively authoritarian retorich. By resigning his seat he's given the only electorate he has any control over, his consistuents, a chance to have a real vote on the subject and because he's fighting the by election a single issue it will be impossible for the government to dismiss the result as a mid-term abhoration. I'm certain that Cameron tried to talk him out of it but for me that is a hugely significant resgination. He's no ordinary M.P - this is the shadow home secretary who until this morning had a real shot at becoming the real thing after the next election. Clearly he feels that parliament, as it did after 28 days, may now be content to grumble but not act following this disgusting act of consitutional terrorism. I'm no Tory but I wish Mr Davis well and hope he's reelected with an increased majority. If reaapointed following such a victory the Tory's would have much greater authority on this issue - an actual mandate and it would put huge pressure on Labour to back down. It could even force Cameron to commit to repealing both 42 and 28 days - which should be his first act if elected Prime Minister. Strategically its fairly ingenious and guarantees the issue will remain in at the top the news agenda for a few weeks yet. Risky sure but absolutely superb.

  • Comment number 66.

    After yesterday's fiasco of alleged DUP vote-buying on the part of Labour, finally a stand on principle. My hat goes off to you, Mr. Davis - I really wish I happened to live in Haltemprice and Howden so that I could actually tell the government what I think of their plans. It's about time someone stood up and had some substance.

    I'd just like to point out, however, that resigning to seek a by-election on a single issue is not without precedent. On December 17th, 1985, all 15 Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland (which amounted to all but two of NI's MPs) resigned en masse to fight a by-election on the issue of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which they simply couldn't stomach. The elections were duly held on January 23rd, 1986, and all but one of them won re-election by huge margins (the one who didn't win was in a nationalist-majority constituency and the SDLP took the seat).

    Indeed, says that a member has resigned 51 times since the Reform Act specifically in order to contest the by-election and seek a vote of confidence from their constituents. This may, however, be the first time that a member has done it because of a vote in the House.

  • Comment number 67.

    Where is the win here for the anti 42-day issue? He won't suddenly have any magic powers to block government legislation or increase the Tory vote count. I just dont get it.

    It's just an ad campaign designed to put them on top and create momentum, and have them plugging that until the general election. Keeping quiet may make you ask what's behind the curtain but, really, there's nothing there.

    If the Tory party backed the government in holding corporations to account who are sneaking through inflation busting price rises, or backed the return of wealth Tory voters have stolen from the poor, I might think they'd got half a clue but they haven't.

    Untrammelled corporate power and sucking wealth out of the economy is killing the business start-ups and society that Britain depends on. The short-term boost mentality looks good but it's only a front, like some alcoholic holding their breath while the boss walks by.

    I'm sure Blessed Leader forgives their sin.
  • Comment number 68.

    Whist many of his points may be valid, i cant help finding his statement shows an unstable and agitated man.. I hope he is ok..

  • Comment number 69.

    David Davis shows courage and dignity to express the feelings of most of us in this country; our utter disgust at the steady erosion of civil liberties and ever-increasing intrusion of the state into our personal lives.
    ID cards, councils using anti-terror legisaltion to snoop on ratepayers, CCTV tracking every move you make etc, etc.
    Just as mythical global warming provided an ideal opportunity to raise more tax so over-stated terrorism threats allow the State to exert yet more control over ordinary people.
    Well done Lib Dems in refusing to contest the by-election on this important point of principle.
    The cynics will, of course, snear at this principled stand because they just don't understand the imprtance of making a high-profile stand against draconian and fascist (yes; fascist) legislation, but they snear at everything anyway.
    Well done DD for standing up for your (and most of our) beliefs!

  • Comment number 70.


    In the first paragraph you say Nazis weren't facists.

    Then there was this paragraph.
    {purpledogzz wrote@52
    "Fascism is the integration of state with the corporations in a totalitarian manner that reduces the freedom of the individual and abuses and scapegoats a specific racial/religious group to spread fear and hatred amongst the population in support of aggressive policies and wars."}

    Where you describe the Nazis perfectly. Yes they were facists. No you aren't liberal. Yes you are a Conservative. No you aren't fooling anyone.

  • Comment number 71.

    C_E_H has complained that discussion of the 42 day issue was "fact light".

    Fully agree. I have heard no facts from Ministers. Partly, I'm sure they feel they cannot share security information. Partly, as the argument was simply "assertion heavy", but no reason was given for selecting 42 rather than 35, 60 or 90 days.

    If, after an extension to 42 days, no compelling evidence is obtained that satisfies DPP standards, then what next?

    Suspect X must be released, is entitled to compensation and could depart the UK. So when evidence comes in from overseas 2 weeks later, how does the present change in the law "defend" UK citizens?

    I frankly don't care whether the Bill was introduced by Labour, Tory or Liberal parties. I do care about laws being practical and "making a difference" without infringing liberties.

  • Comment number 72.

    Will you stop talking rubbish Robinson (see

    You seem to quote "sources" all the time with little justification for their validity. You must remember that what you say will influence many peoples' outlook on the situation.

    "The last thing the Conservative party wants to do now is...there will be deep anxiety…divert them from what they have planned…I know some deep resentment" you don't know any of this you are merely speculating. You are not a in the Shadow Cabinet and you have not spoken to a member since the speech; you cannot report this as fact!

    This has been welcomed by many of the grass roots as a firm and honourable stance on Mr. Davis’s political beliefs.

    Very lax reporting, Mr Robinson.

  • Comment number 73.

    I find it difficult to understand why David Davis is resigning, when the 42 day detention legislation can easily be modified by the Lords.
    I am also amazed the civil service could employ an official daft enough to leave top secret file on a train.
    And isn't it extraordinary that the person who found it handed it to the BBC rather than rushed it to the nearest police station?
    All very "wierd".

  • Comment number 74.

    It has now been reported that there was a bad row yesterday evening between Cameron and Davies. Due to the fact that Davies had said that when the Conservatives win the next election this lasw would be altered from day One.
    Cameron does not want that, but Davies went public with that message.
    These Conservatives have won the next election without a vote being cast according to them.
    It is also reported that Cameron did not agree with Davis stance on the but was persuaded other-wise.
    It has also been reported that a lot of Conservatives are unhappy about their Party's line on this vote as a lot agree with Brown on this one.
    The full resources of the Tory party will not be behind Davies. That speaks volumes about the Conservative Party.
    A lot of Conservatives are feeling very uncomfortable about the line Davies and Cameron are taking. It could really backfire if we suffer from a terrorist attack.
    I can see the headlines "Conservative's soft on Terrorism" and the Shadow Home Secretary has resigned in an emotional pique. because Brown won and he lost.

  • Comment number 75.


    I agree with your assessment that this is at best a lose/draw proposition for Davis and his party and I think he may well be making a mistake.

    Many will share your bafflement as to why a politician should go out on a limb on an issue where polls suggest the public and many of his own party are against him and where his stance is more likely than not to cause damage to his own position and to inconvenience his party.

    That tends to be how it is on matters of principle.

    For a valid comparison - see Robin Cook's stance over Iraq. For a stark contrast - see Gordon Brown's realpolitik shenanigans on the 42 days issue over the last couple of days - conducted under the banner of principle.

    As for Nick's comparison of the Cameron/Davis to Blair/Brown situations, this is the purest nonsense - most unlike Nick, in my view.

    It is very difficult to see any similarity between the two situations but, one thing is for sure - whatever else lay behind the troubled aspects of the Blair/Brown, it wasn't principle.

  • Comment number 76.

    "If the Tory party backed the government in holding corporations to account who are sneaking through inflation busting price rises, or backed the return of wealth Tory voters have stolen from the poor, I might think they'd got half a clue but they haven't."

    What about the wealth that labour has stolen from the poor. You praise Brown as a hero, yet HIS party have left the poor poorer and the rich ever richer. Big business has been suckling at the government's teat for a long time under Brown.

  • Comment number 77.

    It tells you all you need to know about labour that they would consider a principled stand in defence of privacy from unnecessary government intrusion, freedom and liberty is a "gimmick".

    Labour cannot be trusted.

    David Davis is the only one standing up for the law abiding majority in this country. He deserves our support.

  • Comment number 78.

    jasper 39? Tories soft on terrorism? By NOT giving away our freedoms? by NOT altering our way of life, because some inept terrorists demand it?

    Labour caved under the pressure and gave in to terrorism.

    David Davis is right.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 75.... Correct.

    The fact that this stance, from a party political point of view, was not necessary. shows that this is NOT a party political issue so much as a deeply held matter of principle. This is why labour are attacking it with so much fluff and nonsense. This is why they claim that defending freedom is a gimmick!

    Labour are terrified of principle and conviction, because they have not got any. They have a coward called brown who has caved in to terrorists.

  • Comment number 80.

    Shows how much Quietzapple knows about politics if he thinks Davis is an Old Etonian, or that the Tories don't have any women on their front bench.

    He's just a NuLabour forum troll, probably paid for by Editorial Intelligence.

  • Comment number 81.

    Congratulations to David Davis. How refreshingly unusual to see a politician both with principles and willing to risk acting on them.

    Would I lived in Haltemprice and Howden so I could vote for him.
    Recovering Englishmen's civil liberties is surely the most important cause in British politics today.

  • Comment number 82.

    Well, having read some more comments here and watched the resignation speech, I'm a bit less baffled than in my earlier post (#42), but not very much.

    As I understand it, he's doing this because he feels so strongly he wants to give the electorate a say on the matter.

    What's the point? Does he seriously think that even if he wins the by-election with the biggest majority in history the government will suddenly turn round and say "Gosh, you're right, the electorate do think we're being a bit foolish, let's scrap that silly law"? I think Ian_Dudley (#50) hit the nail on the head in pointing out that he has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this.

    Still, I take my hat off to Davis for a fantastic speech. While I remain puzzled by the way he's chosen to fight this particular battle, the arguments he makes in support of his cause are extremely moving. One of the best speeches since Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech IMHO.

  • Comment number 83.

    Thank goodness DD did this. We must debate as a nation any erosion of liberty. 42 days was chosen as a comprimise. Without people standing up for liberty the number would have been even greater -all those in favour of extending the time period give me a number 43, 90, 120....where should it stop - - - I know 28 days or less!

  • Comment number 84.

    Liberal democracies do not suspend Habeas Corpus.

    Bye bye, Gordon.

  • Comment number 85.

    WOW! I'm still reeling from the shock. A politician with principles, and a tory no less!

    Good for him!

    We expect to see similar principled stands crop up from time to time on the labour benches. Robin Cook was prob the last one with spine. Claire Short anyone? Come to think of it, why didnt GB ever resign whilst chancellor when it was clear that TB was going back on his word and refusing to stand down? It goes to show that GB isn't really about principles, but really about clinging on to power.

  • Comment number 86.

    If this were to start a trend then the whole population would return to being interested and start particpating in politics again. So leading to higher voter turnout numbers across the board.
    Lets hope this and stops once and for all the present mob on all sides from abusing the good will we have extended to them.
    The possible unintended consequence of Mr Davis's actions may finally be the last nail in this stalinist totaliarian's coffin.

  • Comment number 87.

    If he had resigned as an MP, I mean properly resigned, would this show him as a man of principle? No. It would show that he did not respect the democratic principles of the House. His view did not prevail in the vote. The honourable thing to do is to persevere in the debate, not throw a hissy fit. It is ironic that those who oppose the 42 day change do so as they are against 'dictatorship' and the like!

    As it happens, he hasn't resigned properly as an MP. He is forcing an unecessary by-election in which he will stand - in a safe Tory seat - and try to present this as a baromoter of views on this single issue. As if the voters - even his own supporters - only vote on a single issue.

    This is insulting to tax-payers (who will have to pay this ego-massaging folly), his constituents (who had already voted for him), his party (as it just makes them look like opportunist spoiled brats) and parliament (in that the whole point of voting is that you agtree to be bound by the result).

    Whatever your views on the policy issue (agree or otherwise), this is a disgraceful move and sets a nonsensical precedent - are more Tories going to 'resign' if they disagree with the result of a vote? I hope his constituency party insist on an open competition for the nomination for Tory candidate.

  • Comment number 88.

    .. #68 .... spot on . ... For a seemingly sensible and sometimes brilliant politician, it seems a bizarre course of action. I share your concerns.

  • Comment number 89.

    # 55 purpledoggzzz. Isnt it time for you to take a nice long holiday. I think that if it were possible most of us on these blogs would club together to pay for a nice holiday for you. We could probably arrange for about six months in Antartica to help you cool down, Your constant diatribe against just about everything British makes me wonder just who you are.
    Its strange that your new found hero just happens to be the guy who to further his own ego has put his constituents in a position where they have to put up with all the mayhem created by a byelection and putting them into the unnecessary position were they have go out and vote for the same guy who they voted for before, because he can't accept the legitimate decision of parliament.
    there is nothing brave about what he is doing, he knows that it is an absolute certainty that he'll be re-elected so whats brave about that, I wonder if he thought that he might not be elected would he still have resigned. I'm afraid that the man is on a ego trip and has no resemblance to Robin Cooks resignation whatsoever. if he felt strongly about14 days or28 days why did'nt he resign then?
    I'am afraid that I suspect that there is more to this story than has yet been revealed but it will come out , maybe slowly but it will come.
    Not brave but foolhardy from a man I thought better of, I hope labour have enough sense not to take part in this nonsense and let him play his own silly game.

  • Comment number 90.

    #89 grandantidote

    I'm afraid that I cant agree that what David Davis has done is not brave. Yes, he will have made a calculation (all politicians do) but he will have felt that the 'principle' is worth the risk. You suggest that the gamble is not risky at all - but you also say that the local electorate within his constituency will be subject to an unnecessary byelection. Surely if the electorate think it unnecessary then they will bomb him out. Also if the 70% poll support figure is true (for 42 days) then he should fully expect to lose on that point too. Or do you not believe the 42 days measure to be popular as GB says!

    Your argument re why did he not make a stand on 14 or 28 days can easily be explained. Perhaps he thought that 28 days was plenty enough, much like most of the rest of the commons did at the time. Or maybe he thought that there wouldnt be anything to stop it being increased again in the future to 60, 90 or even 365 days.

    You are right on one point though, in that it isnt quite the same as the case with Robin Cook. Perhaps Mr Cook wasnt quite principled enough as he didnt resign from the house. Maybe he didnt want to trigger a byelection when the country was about to go to war on dubious pretences!

  • Comment number 91.

    #90 urban guerilla. Just to exchange a few points, as I have suggested David Davis is the sort of man I like to see in politics, up until now. He came from humble beginnings being brought up on a council estate, we dont share the same politics but that doesnt stop him from being a decent man. He will get re-elected because he's been a good MP, its silly to think that they would reject him because they disagree with him on what to most people is not considered to be a life changing point. Please dont come down on me with all this civil libities nonsense, I am sure that the 315 MPs that voted in favour have equally as strong consciences as the rest of us. He knows that he's safe.
    I think that although the majority of the the people in the country dont see the situation with 42 days as he does, and like most people they realise that this is a measure brought in for extreme cases only. All this scaremongering about they can arrest any one at any time is BS there are so many safeguards built in that that scenario is impossible, it also has to have parliamentry approval every year, so if the Tories win the next general election they can just drop it . I would lay odds that they wont though, there are quite a few Tories that agree with the forty days as is the opposite in the labour ranks, but its gone through parliament and their decision is there to see , its no good stampihg your feet afterwards, parliament has made its decision.
    The only thing brave if you can call it that, I think it was knee jerk foolishness is that he has reduced himself to the backbenches where he will have no authority, this rather defeats the object I would have thought.
    My argument that why he did'nt resign at 23 or even 14 days you havent explained at all, he is on record of saying that he did'nt approve, so how many days did he approve, it can have nothing to do with whether it could be increased to 90 or 365 days because that would never under any circumstances get through parliament, he would'nt have thought that for one moment he's far too intelligent for that.
    Your perception of the situation with Robin Cook is rather strange your idea about his principles is so out of touch with practically all parliamentarions of all colours.
    To have resigned from the house would have been an almost unprecedented step and would not have made a any difference to labour other than the loss of a good man but other than that Labour had a massive majority at that that time so his resignation would although sad, not be a earth shattering blow to labour.
    A war on dubious pretences is a matter of opinion and mine is diametrically oposed to yours.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91 grandantidote

    thanks for taking the time to show me the other side of the argument - it is appreciated because I do like to try to see things from other perspectives (some on here bring too much emotion to the table, when really only logic counts).

    I've got to be honest though, on balance, I still think what DD has done is risky - 42 days may well be popular amongst tory voters and he could come unstuck!

    He will have undoubtedly done some damage to his credibility as a 'safe pair of hands' within the shadow cabinet (possibly irrepairably), but earned some kudos from the public at large incl non-tories.

    Is it sheer lunacy (blatant disregard for parliamentary process) or utter genius (getting non-plussed voters interested again in politics/restoring some faith in politicians)? I reckon only time can tell.

    For the first time in ages, i'm positively interested in politics again!

    PS although we are diamterically opposed on the iraq issue - I am not a tory! I am best described as a floating voter, as I've voted for all 3 main parties and the greens!

  • Comment number 93.

    When you present your thoughts sensibly as you have done here and back it up with reasoned arguments I have much greater respect for your position than when you throw abuse at those whose opinions you disagree with. This was the achilles heel of your good friend legs in my opinion. You would do well not to follow her lead. I happen to agree with much of what you have written on this issue. I actually disagree with The Conservative stance on 42 days but we are all entitled to our opinions and I respect those of DD as much as I would yours if politely put. Where we would part ways is on our political leaning and our perception of The Government's record. Debate however is a healthy thing is it not? If we were in Zimbabwe we might well be fearing for our lives for daring to speak out. The world would be a boring place if we all followed the same line.

  • Comment number 94.

    We seem to have put the silly sparring and abuse throwing of a week or two ago to bed. Let's concentrate on the issues initiated by NR and treat each other with respect without having to run to the moderators at every turn.

  • Comment number 95.

    Wild guess - DD was so pissed off with DC (about not agreeing to reverse 42 d once Tories elected) that they had a big blarney and DD resigned. The by-election-of-principle was a last-minute desperation by the party to try to rescue something.

  • Comment number 96.

    Dear Nick
    Dirty tricks at the polls, too many independants standing, "who offered them a deal, to redude Davi's majority i wonder"


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