Davis: I quit to stop Tory U-turn on 42 days

by Stephen Tall on June 15, 2008

In the first hour after David Davis quit as an MP last Thursday, I suggested the reason underpinning his decision:

Mr Davis recognised that the Tories’ influential neo-cons in the shadow cabinet, George Osborne and Michael Gove, would much rather have backed the Government over 42 days: only tactical considerations of defeating Labour in the Commons persuaded they and Mr Cameron to rally behind Mr Davis’s stand. But none of them, it seems, wanted to fight the proposal through the House of Lords, and try and defeat it again when it returns to the Commons.

Now David Davis has come as close as he is ever likely to do publicly in admitting this was the case:

‘I thought, that means Gordon Brown will take it to the Parliament Act [to force 42 days through], and I won’t be able to stop it because it will be closer to an election – his party will be more disciplined. There are those members – and there are some in my party – who worry about it … It would be harder for us to maintain the line. There is only so much you can do in politics.’

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I wonder if this will silence those who are accusing him of grandstanding.

by bishop Hill on June 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm. Reply #

I knew all along, & said so on a regular basis, that the Tories have never been real on their commitment to civil liberties. Despite the trendy right-wing “libertarians” adhering to them, they have always been, and always will be, the natural home of Mail-reading knuckledraggers.

by asquith on June 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm. Reply #

No it wont bishop….he should have fought his corner from his vantage point…the next logical step is if he is so out of kilter with the Conservative Party is to leave….or to stand on an independant ticket…why wont he do that?? Because then he would have no chance of launching his putsch against Cameron

by Darrell on June 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm. Reply #


The issue of whether he should have fought for civil liberties is a tactical question rather than one which reflects on whether he did this out of principle or not.

This is the perennial problem for libertarians (of which Mr Davis may or may not be one). None of the big three parties are wholly liberal – Conservatives are social authoritarians, Lib and Lab are economic authoritarians. If he were returned to Parliament as an independent his influence would be tiny. If, however, he is returned as a Conservative, he can at least help steer them away from the rocks of authoritarianism. And if, as some have speculated, we see a wholesale realignment in British politics, with liberals lining up against authoritarians, he’s well placed to take a lead there too.

by bishop Hill on June 15, 2008 at 6:59 pm. Reply #


Do you not think that his influence will be tiny now, since he is all but exiled from the inner circle of the Conservative Party?? I also disagree, independants like Martin Bell have had quite a profound influence so your point doesnt really stand…

Secondly, I will not follow the leadership of Mr Davis anywhere and into anything….and as for saying he is a social liberal this doesnt entirely hold either on questions of gay rights for example…

by Darrell on June 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm. Reply #

So what?
Patrick Wall believed in free speech.I believe in free speech,but if Wall had resigned his seat to fight a by-election on a free speech platform I would never have voted for him.
Since so many Tories believe in 42 days it is hard to how Davis’ actions will stop it or split the Conservatives.

by Manfarang on June 16, 2008 at 9:28 am. Reply #

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