I guess everyone was slightly taken aback by the Tory Shadow Home Secretary announcing he would resign his seat in Parliament. At first I thought it was an inspired piece of martyrdom, with David Davis saying that he was so sicken by the actions of parliament and the government that he could no longer stomach it any more. But when I read on that he was going to stand in the by-election himself, I was somewhat confused.
It seems the Tories are not averse to criticising other parties for calling unnecessary by-elections, and whilst I accept this is a matter of principle for David Davis, and one that has an element of risk (although the main risk has been removed by the Lib Dems agreeing not to stand against him), I really fail to see how this is going to make anyone change their minds over 42 days.
You have to hope, in the first place, that the whole issue of 42 days does not come back before the House of Commons before the by-election in David Davis' seat is held, after all, it would mean one less vote against 42 days. But also the by-election itself is hardly likely to truly be a referendum on 42 days itself. Everyone knows David Davis will get back in in Haltemprice and Howden because his is a Tory, and for no other reason.
I have to say I was impressed with the way David Davis spoke in Parliament yesterday during the debate, I was impressed by his passion on the subject and to a certain extend I think he has to be applauded. However, if labour decide not to play his game and if they fail to put up a candidate, it could be a meaningless by-election which proves nothing at all.