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Civil Liberties high on the Agenda after Davis's byelection victory

David Davis's byelection victory is a clear sign that people in Britain don't like Gordon Brown's plans for 42-day internment.

"Four weeks ago, as Gordon Brown stooped into the gutter to rig the vote on 42 days, ministers crowed that 69% of people backed 42 days. Today just 36% supported it. Four weeks ago the government touted public support for a range of other draconian measures. Today 71% support my stand against the attacks on British liberty." - David Davis, 11 July

David Davis has discovered civil liberties, but not as we know them. Here are some of the things he told the Conservative Party Conference last October:

"We'll scrap ID cards, that expensive white elephant. Put some of the early savings into extra prison places.... And scrap the government's reckless early release scheme. "

"We believe that some immigration benefits the UK but not all of it. We want the right people and the right number of people."

"It's time to bring zero-tolerance policing to the streets of Britain."

"Gordon Brown has proposed a Border Service which he hopes will fool people into thinking this is the same as our proposal for a Border Police Force...Under a Conservative government, we'll have one body, with real power. To stop, search, detain and prosecute. To gather intelligence and seize illegal goods. A proper integrated force with real power to protect our borders. That, and a government that is not afraid to set a limit on immigration."

"And as for groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir that fuel hatred and violence against this country and against our way of life? We will ban them."

David Davis will soon be sitting on the Tory backbenches on a civil liberties ticket. But if you are a migrant, or an asylum-seeker, or Muslim, or banged up in jail for a minor offence, if you've fallen victim to a drug habit, or if you just happen to be young and poor, then David Davis's liberties aren't for you.

If a law 'n' order junkie like Davis can stand up against Gordon Brown's blustering over 42-day internment and still get the support of voters, then anyone can. If he can defy his party leader, then anyone can. So what's wrong with the Labour MPs who trooped along to support Gordon Brown's crackpot scheme?

The only Scottish Labour MP to oppose the government was Katy Clark (Ayrshire North and Arran). She deserves our thanks. The others need to be told that we expect better of them.

42 day detention is likely to be rejected by the House of Lords and sent back to the Commons for MPs to think again. Please tell your MP that you expect them to vote against it when they next get a chance.

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