UK Politics

Why Did Dave Davis Resign?

So, apparently, there has been a row between “Dave” Cameron and “Davis” Davis, which has resulted in the Shadow Home Secretary resigning. Not just as Shadow Home Secretary. But also as an MP

Why? Apparently:

“It is thought he wants to trigger a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden seat.

Mr Davis has been a passionate opponent of plans to extend the terror detention limit to 42 days.

It is thought he has privately threatened to resign if the Tories wavered on the issue. He will make a statement shortly. “

Uh huh. So, reverse engingeering, it sounds as if Cameron might have decided not to fight the 42 day limit in the Lords, or will not commit to reversing the decision if in power, and Davis has decided to force a by-election over the issue.

I don’t get it.

I think that the Government failed to make the case for 42 days. However, I’m afraid that both Davis and I are in a minority:

A Sunday Telegraph poll last night showed the public firmly behind plans for 42-day detention. Some 65 per cent of those questioned backed Brown’s plan, against just 30 per cent who supported Tory leader David Cameron’s position of retaining the 28-day limit.

So, unless Davis thinks that his constituency is an exception to the rule, and he thinks that the voters will return an anti-42 day candidate, how precisely would a by-election assist him in making that case.

We’ll find out soon enough why he resigned.


Oh, I see. The LibDems won’t run against him. So, what? He runs as a Tory-Against-42-Days, wins, and then claims that this, erm, no, I still don’t get it.


Now I understand.

It is all about opposing the “insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms”

“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 no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich. I will fight it on my personal record. I am just a piece in this great chess game. I will fight it. I will argue this by-election against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government. That may mean I have made my last speech to the House, possible. And 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 our day. The ever-intrusive power of the state into our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom 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 will not stand.” 

And here are some other examples of the fundamental British freedoms that matter to Davis.

  • He opposed pretty much every attempt to ensure that gay people had equal rights.
  • He wants to curtail abortion rights.
  • He strongly supports fox hunting.

(And, so it says below, he opposed 24 hour drinking, and supported the death penalty. Tory civil liberties, ladies and gentlemen!)

Here’s his speech in full.

Of course, is Labour really wants to make Davis Davis look like a fool, they could always just refuse to stand against him. Then what would this pointless, self-aggrandising by election prove?


McShane agrees:

Mr MacShane said Mr Davis had launched a personal “stunt” after a row with David Cameron.

And he suggested Labour should not stand a candidate against him in the by-election.

“I do not think we should dignify it. It is a very unparliamentary thing to do.

“I personally think we should stay away from it. We should just let him have his little by-election, let BNP and UKIP and the other crazy parties go up there,” he said.

It would be extraordinary if, every time a politician lost a debate in the Commons, he sparked a by-election, he said.

The new Shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, has described Davis Davis’s resignation as “a highly individual decision”

“A highly individual decision” = “He is a lunatic”


Here’s Davis Davis voting for 28 days.

So as Matthew in the comments puts it, Davis Davis is an “Anti 42 but Pro 28 days Civil Libertarian Crusader”

A conviction politician!


The new Shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, has confirmed that the Tories, if elected, would repeal 42 days.


If this was the Tories position all along, then why did Davis bother resigning?

Unless… Davis was told by Cameron that he’d not commit to the repeal of 42 days. In which case, Davis has just publicly administered a Chinese burn to the arm of his party leader.

Nice going!