David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, announced ten minutes ago that he is to resign as a MP and force a by-election in his constituency on the issue of 42-days detention. In a speech outside the Palace of Westminster, Davis claimed that his decision was entirely personal and sparked by yesterday's terror bill. He claimed it was more evidence of an intrusive government.
Apparently, Davis was unable to get a commitment from David Cameron that he would reverse the 42 day law should the Conservatives form the next government and there has been an almighty row behind the scenes. It is also understood that Davis has done a deal with the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, and there will be no Liberal challenge to Davis in the by-election.
This is an utterly bizarre decision. There is certainly no precedent for it.
It shows that the Conservatives are divided, Cameron is probably unwilling to commit to reversing the law and the relationship between the two men is acrimonious whatever they may say.
Labour may be rubbing its hands in glee if it feels it can paint Davis and therefore the Tories as weak on terrorism. But it is also possible that Davis could use it to genuinely attack the Government and inflict further damage.
This is a self-indulgent decision by David Davis. While he may feel he is taking a personal stand on the issue, it is also an almighty political gamble and I am not sure it proves anything.