Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bizarre stunt exposes Tory splits and Cameron's weak leadership...

Today's bizarre stunt by David Davis in forcing a needless - and costly - parliamentary by-election after losing the democratic vote shows David Cameron and the Tories in disarray...

As the BBC's political editor suggests Cameron has lost the plot, it's worth reflecting on what The Sun says today following last night's Commons vote on locking up suspected terrorists for a maximum 42 days without charge:

GORDON Brown is entitled to considerable satisfaction after his victory in last night’s terror vote.

He stood up for the fight against extremism in the face of deeply hostile criticism and predictions of disaster — not least from his own party.

The same cannot be said for the Opposition who seemed more concerned about narrow self-interest than the national interest.
We expect nothing less from the Lib-Dems. But we might have hoped for better from Conservatives who aim one day to be in charge of protecting Britain from attack.

The move to detain terror suspects for 42 days without charge is backed by police and security chiefs.

It is supported by seven out of ten voters, instinctively by many of David Cameron’s own Tory MPs and — as The Sun revealed yesterday — by his grassroots voters.
Yet they were all whipped into the Opposition lobby, apparently for opposition’s sake.

Some demeaned themselves by shabbily jeering Ulster MPs who supported the PM, knowing more than most about fighting terror.

Yes, it was a narrow government margin: just nine votes.

But that was enough to give police and security services the tools they need to test complex evidence against dangerous extremists.

We must hope we will NEVER need to detain a suspect for 42 days.

But Gordon Brown rightly argued that now is the time to act — in a period of calm debate, not in the wake of a national catastrophe.

It would have been deeply irresponsible to wait until Britain was in deadly peril before realising 28 days was not long enough.

The Commons struggle was a major victory for the PM after a torrid six months. He passed it with credit.

Now he has a precious breathing space — and the opportunity to prove to the country he has the vision and the energy as Prime Minister.

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson says:

David Cameron has lost control of his strategy. This was not his decision. He wasn't asked for his agreement.
In other words, he's lost the plot.

And while senior Tories admit they knew hadn't a clue about the intentions of the man who challenged David Cameron for the leadership of the Conservative Party a couple of years ago, LibDem Leader Nick Clegg had been informed.

All of which leaves a big question about David Cameron's leadership...

UPDATE: The Three Line Whip blog published this morning at the Daily Telegraph website puts the rest of the day's events in some kind of perspective....

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