Davis will 'contribute to Conservative future'

Click to follow

Conservative leader David Cameron today indicated that David Davis will not be returning to the shadow cabinet following his by-election victory in Haltemprice and Howden last night.

Mr Cameron said he was "delighted" by the former shadow home secretary's win, but added that he already had a "very strong shadow cabinet".

Mr Davis today vowed to continue his fight for civil liberties, after fighting the by-election on the issue of 42-day pre-charge detention for terror suspects, but insisted he would not become a "single issue campaigner".

He said he expected his successor as shadow home secretary, Dominic Grieve, to continue to oppose Government plans for ID cards, and was confident that the Conservative manifesto at the next election would commit the party to scrapping them.

Asked this morning whether Mr Davis would be returned to the frontbenches, Mr Cameron said: "Obviously, I will talk to him about what the future holds, but I have a very strong shadow cabinet.

"David is a very strong Conservative and a very big figure in our party and I'm sure there are all sorts of ways in which he will be able to contribute in the future."

Mr Cameron urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ditch 42-day detention in the wake of its denunciation as "unworkable" by former head of MI5 Lady Manningham-Buller.

"I hope the Government will take this opportunity to think again," he said. "They have got to start looking at the argument and looking at the evidence and do what is right."

Mr Cameron hailed Mr Davis as a "brave and courageous" man, but made clear that his surprise decision to quit Westminster to fight on the issue of 42 days was a personal one.

"He fought his by-election very bravely and strongly and I think he has made his point in the way he wanted to," said the Tory leader. There may be in public opinion polls a sort of support for 42 days - I think that is now dropping away - but what matters is what is right and standing up and saying what is right, as the Conservative Party throughout this argument has done."

Mr Davis swept back to Westminster with a 15,355 majority over 25 fringe candidates in yesterday's vote. Neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats fought the by-election, and turnout was less than 35%. But Mr Davis nonetheless said he believed the by-election had raised public awareness of civil liberty issues.