Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The rise of Chris Grayling confirms the folly of David Davis

When David Davis resigned as shadow home secretary to fight a by-election there were those who saluted him. I was not one of them.

Just how great a blow his resignation was to hopes that a Conservative government would take a more civilised view of civil liberties has been made clear:

David Cameron yesterday downgraded the Tories' commitment to civil liberties when he declared that the sole focus of the Home Office under a Conservative government would be to tackle crime. In a sign that the party is distancing itself from the era of David Davis, the former shadow home secretary who resigned over the government's 42-day detention plan, the Tories pledged to introduce a 21st-century alternative to "a clip-round-the-ear" policing.

Underlining the party's tougher approach, Cameron issued a blunt message to wayward children. "It's the Conservatives you're dealing with now," he said. "You're not going to get away with it any more."

Cameron made his remarks as he introduced Chris Grayling, who was making his first speech as shadow home secretary. Grayling made clear that civil liberties would not be one of his priorities when he said: "If I am home secretary after the next election, my job is very simple - to be tough on crime."

Will anyone defend Davis now?

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