Matthew Dancona

What this defection means

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Fraser is right that Quentin Davies is where he should always have been. But – as he acknowledges in his update - defections matter because of their symbolism; and, symbolically, it is truly remarkable that the traffic (at Westminster, rather than local level) is still from the Tories to Labour.  It is almost 12 years since Alan Howarth defected to Labour in October 1995, to be followed by Peter Temple-Morris, Shaun Woodward and Robert Jackson (January 2005). This Gang of Four defected over a decade because they believed the Tory Party was irretrievably right-wing and that New Labour now represented the mainstream. Mr Davies, in contrast, says he is leaving the Conservative fold because it “appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything, or to stand for anything". Those words could have been written by a New Labour spin doctor. Come to think of it, they probably were.