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Remember when David Davis quit to fight a by-election the purpose of which was soon forgotten

July 18th, 2017

His weird 2008 move will raise questions about his judgement

If failed 2005 leadership candidate and current Brexit secretary, David Davis, does find himself campaigning to be TMay’s successor then every bit of his political career will be scrutinised for pointers to whether he’s up to the job or not.

One weird bit of his political CV that has been long forgotten but surely will be focused upon was his resignation as an MP for the Yorkshire seat of Haltemprice and Howden in 2008 to fight a by-election on the issue of freedom. His announcement of the move is featured in the Sky News clip above.

The problem was that it was quite hard to work out what he was trying to achieve and why resigning as an MP and re-fighting the seat was the best way of doing it. His effort to make it a protest against the then LAB government’s detention without trial period was effectively thwarted by Gordon Brown’s party not putting up a candidate against him. The LDs also stood aside.

As the campaign developed Davis added reason after reason for his move which were all packaged under a campaign titled “David Davis for Freedom” whatever that meant. This was the logo.

He also set up YouTube Channel which which barely attracted any interest with the total number of subscribers failing to reach triple figures.

He had, following the resignation as an MP, to resign from the shadow cabinet where he’d been shadow Home Secretary.

The CON leader David Cameron came to campaign with Davis for just one day. The whole exercise appeared an embarrassment for the party which had just chalked up a spectacular gain from LAB in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election. Davis was never to make a return to the top team until TMay’s arrival a year ago.

He won of course with 71.6% of the vote with turnout down to just 34%.

The problem was that the issue failed to resonate and looking back it is hard to disagree with those that at the time described it as attention seeking.

Davis is currently 7/2 favourite to succeed TMay.

Mike Smithson