Davis scores impressive win
David Davis has won the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, extending his majority from 5,116 to 15,355 with 72 per cent of the vote.
“We have fired a shot across the bows of Gordon Brown’s arrogant, arbitrary and authoritarian government,” he said.
But in a statement to journalists this morning Tory leader David Cameron was lukewarm on the chances of Mr Davis returning to the front bench.
Saying he was “delighted” by the result, Mr Cameron continued: “I’ll obviously talk to him about what the future holds but I have a very strong shadow cabinet.
“David is a strong Conservative, a very big figure in our party, and I’m sure there’s all sorts of ways in which he’ll be able to contribute in the future.”
Labrokes have now put the odds on Mr Davis returning to the shadow Cabinet by the end of the year at 10/1.
Mr Davis promised to now “fight Gordon Brown’s vision of Big Brother Britain tooth and nail, to stop 42 days in its tracks, to prevent the disaster of ID cards before it happens, to protect our personal privacy from being ransacked by the ever-intrusive state”.
The result will be seen as a vindication of Mr Davis’ stance. While turnout was significantly down, from 72 per cent to 34 per cent, the size of the majority in a contest where Tory voters could relax in the knowledge their party would remain in power indicates the public supported Mr Davis stance.
Shan Oakes of the Green party came second getting, 1,758 votes. Joanne Robinson of the English Democrats was third with 1,714.
The Labour party is standing by its decision not to field a candidate. Home Office minister Tony McNulty said the by-election had been “a vain stunt that became and remains a farce”.
“Labour never believed a parliamentary by-election should be held at taxpayers’ expense to resolve tensions at the top of the Conservative party,” he continued.
The Liberal Democrats say David Davis is alone in his commitment to civil liberties in the Conservative party.
“David Davis has done well in keeping the issue of 42 days detention without trial in the spotlight,” said party leader Nick Clegg.
“The Conservatives are a long way from being defenders of liberty. David Davis’ lonely stand only highlights the big questions that still remain over whether the Conservatives really are committed to protecting our freedom,” he added.
Twenty-six candidates were running in the by-election, breaking the UK record previously set in 1993 in Newbury when 19 candidates ran. Of these, 23 lost their deposits.
The by-election was triggered by Davis Davis’ resignation from parliament as an MP, in the process losing his post as shadow home secretary.
Mr Davis hoped to provoke a ‘mini-referendum’ on government authoritarianism, including ID cards, the DNA database, CCTV proliferation and, most importantly, 42-day detention.
But Labour’s decision not to field a candidate against him robbed Mr Davis of a media-friendly contest. The Liberal Democrats gave Mr Davis a clear run, highlighting the two party’s close cooperation on resisting the government’s pre-charge detention plans.
Public opinion seemed to be with the Tory candidate however, with politics.co.uk’s opinion poll showing high levels of support for Mr Davis.
Mr Davis has been MP for Haltemprice and Howden since 1997 and previously enjoyed a majority of 5,116 over the Liberal Democrats – the constituency’s second party. In the last general election Labour came third with 12.7 per cent of the vote, followed by the British National party with 1.7 per cent and UK Independence party with 1.4 per cent.
There was a turnout of 70.2 per cent. That number was expected to drop yesterday, with the lack of any serious challenger deterring people from going to the polls. Indeed, in Mr Davis’ interview with politics.co.uk, he admitted he might lose his deposit.
Around 70,100 people are eligible to vote in the constituency, and polling stations remained open until 22:00 BST.
The full list of candidates is as follows:
Grace Christine Astley (Ind)
David Laurence Bishop (Church of the Militant Elvis party)
Ronnie Carroll (Make Politicians History)
Mad Cow-Girl (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)
David Craig (Ind)
Herbert Winford Crossman (Ind)
Tess Culnane (National Front Britain for the British)
Thomas Faithful Darwood (Ind)
David Michael Davis (The Conservative party candidate)
Tony Farnon (Ind)
Eamonn Fitzy Fitzpatrick (Ind)
Christopher Mark Foren (Ind)
Gemma Dawn Garrett (Miss Great Britain party)
George Hargreaves (Christian party)
Hamish Howitt (Freedom 4 Choice)
David Icke (no description given)
John Nicholson (Ind)
Shan Oakes (Green party)
David Pinder (The New party)
Joanne Robinson (English Democrats – Putting England First)
Jill Saward (Ind)
Norman Scarth (Ind)
Walter Edward Sweeney (Ind)
Christopher John Talbot (Socialist Equality Party)
John Randle Upex (Ind)
Greg Wood (Ind)