politics.co.uk poll shows support for Davis

David Davis was right to trigger a by-election on civil liberties, a politics.co.uk poll suggests today.

The poll will give considerable comfort to the former shadow home secretary as the run up to tomorrow’s vote draws closer.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents believed David Davis was acting genuinely when he resigned from parliament, while 24 per cent said he was not being genuine.

Asked whether Mr Davis was right about the attack on British civil liberties, the response was even higher, with 71 per cent of respondents backing his decision.

But when asked if the money spent on the by-election was worth it, respondents were evenly split, with 42 per cent on both sides. Sixteen per cent of respondent said they were unsure.

There was little to please Labour supporters, with the party’s decision not to field a candidate against Mr Davis treated with widespread contempt – even among respondents who did not think the by-election was a good use of taxpayer money.

Asked if Labour was right to refuse to run a candidate against him, 71 per cent of respondent said no.

The poll comes as the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust released a survey showing 60 per cent of the population believe the upper limit for detaining terrorist suspects should be 28 days or fewer.

The Liberal Democrats have said the survey disproves government’s claims to be on the side of public opinion.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said: “When defending illiberal measures like detention for 42 days and the DNA database, ministers often cite the support of public opinion,” said Chris Huhne, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman.

“This shows just how out of touch ministers are with the views of the British people. It is clear they are becoming sick and tired with the continual erosion of the freedoms that this country was once famous for.”

Voting begins tomorrow morning and the stakes for Mr Davis could not be higher. Political analysts were nonplussed when he announced his unique campaign and many fellow Conservative MPs reacted with irritation at anything which took the spotlight off Labour’s failings.

But public opinion seems to have stayed with Mr Davis. His office has been flooded with messages of support and a steady stream of celebrities and politicians from across the political spectrum have come to campaign for him in Haltemprice and Howden, including renegade Labour left winger Tony Benn and former rock star Sir Bob Geldof.

Mr Davis will be aiming to at least maintain his majority if he is to claim any sort of victory. But it is unlikely any level of support will get him his job as shadow home secretary back.

Rumours he may be offered a new post of ‘liberty minister’ if the Tories come to power have not been confirmed by Conservative central office.