David Blackburn

David Davis offers his counsel in good faith

David Davis offers his counsel in good faith
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From his roost high on the backbenches, David Davis commands a luminescent eminence that he would not have had if he were a frontbencher. And as the current guardian of traditional right-wing Toryism, his words are clear against the often muddy context of coalition.

Talking to the Mail's Andrew Pierce and Amanda Platell, he offers George Osborne and David Cameron some sagacious advice. He joins the chorus, now stalked by Ed Miliband, which urges the government to articulate its growth and recovery rhetoric.

‘We cannot be defined by a purely cuts agenda. If the only message the public takes away from the events of the next few months is one of retrenchment and loss of services, politically at least, we will have failed.’

Next, he rehearses his well known objections to AV. It is a Bad Thing, ensuring permanent weak government, and it insults an electorate with the intelligence to deliver the government it wants - majority Labour in 1997 and coalition in 2010. Constitutional purity is sacrosanct: he calls on all Tories to resist Nick Clegg’s yes campaign.

Davis impressed as Shadow Home Secretary, and he offers a more delicate critique of Ken Clarke’s prison policy than the impulsive refrain that prison indubitably works.

‘I agree with Ken about the issue of cutting prison numbers. But it’s not necessarily about locking up fewer criminal. It’s about taking people out of prison who shouldn’t be there. There are 11,000 foreign prisoners in our jails. The first thing I would be saying to the countries where these prisoners come from is that we do not have room for them, so take them back. Also, there are large numbers of prisoners who have psychiatric problems who should not be in prison…this would let authorities have more time and money to help get the thousands of illiterate drug addicts off drugs and teaching them to read and write and learn other skills to find work.’