David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, has resigned
as an MP following the Government's victory in the Commons
Despite plenty of Labour rebels voting against increasing
the period of detention that terrorist suspects can
be held without charge to 42 days, the Government won
by just nine votes thanks to the backing of nine Democratic
The Government and DUP deny there was any deal made
behind closed doors.
In a statement, Mr Davis will fight the by-election
his resignation will force, "against the slow strangulation
of fundamental British freedoms by this government."
He spoke in defence of Habeas Corpus, the most fundamental
of British freedoms - the right not to be imprisoned
by the state without charge or reason.
But, sadly, the Government has stirred up the people
to live in fear so that they will accept tyranny in
exchange for what they see as security.
Of course we want the real terrorists to be dealt with
swiftly and effectively, but what people supportive
of a six week incarceration ought to appreciate is that
these days just about anyone can be suspected of being
a potential terrorist, like an octogenarian war protestor
wearing an anti-Blair
T-shirt near the Labour Party Conference.
Mr Davis said that the 42-day issue is perhaps "the
most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious
and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms."
He went on to list other erosions of our liberty:
- We will have shortly, the most intrusive identity
card system in the world.
- A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens.
- A DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has.
- An assault on jury trials, that bulwark against
bad law and its arbitrary abuse by the state.
- Shortcuts with our justice system that make our
system neither firm nor fair.
- 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 whilst those who incite violence get off scot-free.
He then added, "This cannot go on. It must be
stopped," and explained he would make a stand by
resigning to force a by-election in his constituency,
Haltemprice and Howden.
He added that, "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 a 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."
The debate should now go to the House of Lords, where
Mr Davis expects a Government defeat as their lordships
should support Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus, but he
is concerned that the Parliament Act will be used by
the Government to overrule the Lords.
The whole statement can be heard here.
Update 7.30pm GMT: Labour's official
website has the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith,
responding to the resignation of Mr Davis, with these
"Faced with a crucial decision on the safety and protection
of the British public, the Conservatives have collapsed
into total disarray on what is their first big policy
test since they have come under greater scrutiny."
All Labour has is that we have to give up our freedom
for our own "safety and protection" (whether
we want to or not!).
I am not a supporter of any mainstream party, but to
insinuate that the Tories have "collapsed into
total disarray" is worse than feeble.
Still, I guess a band of tyrannical liars, thieves
and traitors hanging onto power by their fingertips
will say just about anything to try and discredit opposition
- especially when they expose these runts for what they