“Iâ€™m sorry that Labour and the Liberal Democrats funked it, but weâ€™re still having a good argument and getting the issue raised.â€
Both personally and professionally I’ve spent quite a lot of time defending Davis’ actions, at least up to a point. I’m still not convinced this was necessarily the best strategy but on the basis that the real problem is locking the Tory party into opposing the extension of pre-charge detention and that I can see how this by-election might have achieved that, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Many of the objections to Nick Clegg’s decision not to contest the by-election – including David Mortons’ here – are very valid, but only from the party’s POV. From the POV of national interest, I’m prepared to accept that the party had to take one for the team.
But the quid pro quo to all that is that Davis himself doesn’t then act in bad faith and seek to present our decision not to contest this by-election as anything other than what it was – a show of unity in exceptional circumstances. It is frankly outrageous for him to stab us in the back in this way. If he had been misquoted, then surely a correction would already have been issued on his website?
Any Tories out there willing to join us in condemning him for this blatant act of treachery? If he can’t be trusted on this, what can he be trusted on?
UPDATE (11 July): As Iain Dale mentions below, Davis has got the Guardian to issue a correction on this. That is much appreciated, but it seems the damage has been done. As Justin notes below, other Tories have been adopting this line and now Rosemary Bechler on Our Kingdom is having a pop. Clearly we can’t win either way in this debate.