Was the Davis by-election a gimmick?

July 11, 2008

                  **** For full coverage of British politics click here **** 

daviddavis.jpgTo nobody’s great surprise, David Davis swept home at the “liberties” by-election in his Yorkshire seat that he himself had engineered by resigning.

With neither of the other main parties standing, he was left to romp home in a field devoid of any serious rivals.

Davis says his stand was a shot across the bows of a government that he believes is crushing civil liberties by, among other things, trying to get the right to hold terrorist suspects for up to six weeks without charge.

Conservative leader David Cameron has been cool towards his gesture, Gordon Brown has called it a gimmick and several ratepayers in frugal Yorkshire have grumbled that the whole thing was a waste of public money.

What is your view. Bold stand or ego-trip?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

To resign one’s seat and seek a mandate from one’s constituents BEFORE a Commons vote would be a bold stand. To do it AFTERWARDS is an ego-trip.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

I don’t think this by-election was the way to get the point across or argue the issue, and ultimately was a waste of time and money. Here in London it went almost completely unreported and unnoticed. Why didn’t David Davis just continue to do his job on the opposition front bench, where he would have had much more clout to argue the point? Even giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he was at least sincere, his decision to resign was really rather foolish, to put it mildly.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

Of course it was not a gimmick or an ego trip

It was a principled stand- something that few politicians can understand. However this is why many people from all parties have supported him, as well as many who are not really political- like Bob Geldof, Col Tim Collins, etc, etc.

The real story of this by-election was that the Government so knew their case was complete nonsense (not even supported by Director of Public Prosecutions of ex Head of MI5) that it did not even dare to put up a candidate, who was sure to be thrashed.

The press has been culpable in aiding and abbeting this by asking questions like this (shame on you, Reuters, for pushing this Labour Government line)- at least you could ask a neutral question- was it a gimmick or was the Government cowardly?

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Mr Davis did just the right thing to bring a lot of attention to his honourable and justified campaign against the erosion, and disrespect shown, to habeus corpus.

Well done and congratulations to someone with real principles and genuine sense of human rights.

I am appalled and disgusted at those Unionist idiots who threw their principles into the bog!

I wish David Davis well and hope he continues to bring attention to a national issue that has enormous implications for all our liberty and rights!

Posted by The Truth Is… | Report as abusive

It was a meaningless empty gesture. A total waste of time & money.

Posted by John | Report as abusive


Your post paid no respect to habeus corpus.

Do you live on Mars?

Posted by The Truth Is… | Report as abusive