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David Davies shock resignation speech in Parliament


Guest David Guyatt
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Guest David Guyatt

Assuming his motive truly is genuine, then Davies needs everyone, irrespective of party political affiliations, to stand behind him.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7450899.stm

In full: Davis statement

Here is the full text of the statement David Davis read out to reporters announcing his resignation:

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.

Up until yesterday, I took the view that what we did in the House of Commons representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because with centuries or forebears we defended the freedoms of the British people. Well we did up until yesterday.

This Sunday is the anniversary of Magna Carta - the document that guarantees that most fundamental of British freedoms - Habeus Corpus.

The right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason. Yesterday this house decided to allow the state to lock up potentially innocent British citizens for up to six weeks without charge.

Now the counter terrorism bill will in all probability be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. After all, what should they be there for if not to defend Magna Carta.

But because the impetus behind this is essentially political - not security - the government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to over-rule the Lords. It has no democratic mandate to do this since 42 days was not in its manifesto.

Its legal basis is uncertain to say the least. But purely for political reasons, this government's going to do that. And because the generic security arguments relied on will never go away - technology, development and complexity and so on, we'll next see 56 days, 70 days, 90 days.

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

And we will have shortly, the most intrusive identity card system in the world.

A CCTV camera for every 14 citiziens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with 1000s of innocent children and a million innocent citizens on it.

We have witnessed an assault on jury trials - that balwark against bad law and its arbitrary use by the state. Short cuts with our justice system that make our system neither firm not fair.

And the creation of a database state opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

The state has security powers to clamp down on peaceful protest and so-called hate laws that stifle legitimate debate - while those who incite violence get off Scot free.

This cannot go on, it must be stopped. And for that reason, I feel that today it's incumbent on me to take a stand.

I will be resigning my membership of the House and I intend to force a by-election in Haltemprice and Howden.

Now I'll not fight it on the government's general record - there's no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich. I won't 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.

Now, that may mean I've made my last speech to the House - it's possible. And of course that would be a matter 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 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 will not stand.

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Absolutely agree.

The fact the BBC can't even spell Habeas Corpus just shows what a state we're in.

Whatever his motives, it's important that a high-profile MP has stood up and said "NO MAS".

I made a short film about Magna Carta two years ago. The original document was as much about power as principle. But over time, Magna Carta & Habeas Corpus have become critically important principles, and the slightly sordid nature of their birth no longer matters.

I just saw former Labour minister Clare Short being interviewed on the Parliamentary green. She praised Davis, and her tone was mournful - probably because she regrets not having resigned herself when the Iraq war was unfolding.

Maybe a few Labour MPs will now show some integrity and resign too.

The problem is I suspect that the Labour Party will refuse to put up a candidate in the election. In fact, they would be fools to do this as they will lose badly and would find it difficult to justify bringing the legislation back to the House of Commons after it is defeated in the House of Lords.

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It made a pleasant surprise to hear a politician speak with such candour on a matter of principle that affects us all, and be prepared to put his livelihood and his credibility on the line. Hopefully his motives are genuine.

I think the Labour party will be stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If as John suggests they don't even put up a candidate, I suspect the public backlash will be withering in their contempt. If they do contest it, well I think it's safe to say that Davis will be a shoe in, and any mandate they thought they had for 42 days will go up in smoke. The government are in a no win situation.

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Guest David Guyatt
How utterly and tediously predictable of even the supposedly left-of-centre MSM.

Grizzled Guardian hack Michael White, the ultimate lackey of the lobby, who couldn't even beat Alastair Campbell in a fist fight, ignores the matter of principle and launches into a petty ad hominem attack on Davis:

David Davis resignation: A stunt and an ego-trip

At one level the shadow home secretary's resignation is is admirable; at another, it is distinctly odd

.....................

This was closer to a stunt - an ego-trip too. But it had echoes of a repetition of John Major's resignation as Tory leader in 1995 to face down his cabinet critics, or when the 14 Unionist MPs stood down and fought their seats in protest at one of the Anglo-Irish agreements.

The shadow home secretary has form in this respect. He is a loner, emotional and impulsive; this was his own decision.

David Cameron is calling it "courageous" - the kind of word Sir Humphrey would have used when Jim Hacker was poised to do something silly in Yes, Minister.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/...e_surprise.html

Absolute tripe, of course. But dangerous tripe because the world of Sun readers will believe anything the MSM tell them, while sinking a dozen cans of Carlsberg and biting into their battered sausage and chips from the Chinese chippy - then scream long and hard about vile terrorists changing our way of life. Then they leave Parliament, their day job, and go home and drink their gin and tonics, fiddle their expenses and parade around in rubber underwear...

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Guest David Guyatt
According to Kelvin MacKenzie, Rubert Murdoch has asked him to stand against David Davies. (Murdoch's newspapers have been great supporters of the 42 days legislation and is one of the main reasons why the general public agree with Brown on this.)

God, you couldn't make this up cold you...

Sun King MacKenzie is best known for composing that awful headline "GOTCHA!" during the Falklands war when Thatchler ordered the torpedoing of the Argentinian battlecruiser General Belgrano, resulting in a loss of 323 lives.

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It made a pleasant surprise to hear a politician speak with such candour on a matter of principle that affects us all, and be prepared to put his livelihood and his credibility on the line. Hopefully his motives are genuine.

I think the Labour party will be stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If as John suggests they don't even put up a candidate, I suspect the public backlash will be withering in their contempt. If they do contest it, well I think it's safe to say that Davis will be a shoe in, and any mandate they thought they had for 42 days will go up in smoke. The government are in a no win situation.

I agree with you. I think all the media political commentators have got this wrong. This will turn out to be a disaster for Gordon Brown who will be seen as being cowardly if he does not put up a candidate against Davies. If Labour does not have a candidate, the Sun will put up its own pro-42 days candidate. One of the reasons that the Labour movement does not like the 42 days legislation is that it is supported by Murdoch and the right-wing press.

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This is a complete disgrace.

A Tory resigns on a matter of principle, objecting to the ongoing destruction of Habeas Corpus and the fact that the state security apparatus is increasingly beyond democratic control.

New Labour PM Gordon Brown tries to categorize Davis' action as a "stunt", and refuses to put up a candidate, knowing that Rupert Murdoch will fund a loutish former Sun Editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, to contest the seat.

Still, at least we know whose "War on Terror" it really is. Murdoch and Faux News are now even running Parliamentary candidates.

Meanwhile, beyond the Murdoch press, the entire MSM, including the BBC, should hang their heads in shame over their puerile reporting of this incident.

I agree entirely Jan. All the reports I've seen have been about how the Conservatives have been left in disarray. They're missing the point entirely. With Labour bowing out, and Murdoch and others putting up their own "candidates", the by-election runs the risk of descending into farce, which would suit the Government down to the ground. Hopefully Davis will be able to keep the debate on track, which is supposed to be about the Government's gradual erosion of freedoms of the British people. The "42 day rule" was only the straw that broke the camel's back.

Let's face it: the Government daren't put up a candidate, so they have absolutely no choice but to try and besmirch Davis' intentions. I expect to see them throwing as much mud as they can from the sidelines over the next few weeks. The bias of the different parts of the media will determine how much of that mud sticks. No doubt Mr Average Sun reader will be drip-fed the line that Davis is the Devil incarnate.

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