Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Strange Defection of Quentin Davies: Part 94

I have just spent an hour or two at the House of Commons. A few pointers on Quentin Davies...

Davies was still voting with the Party last night at 5.48pm last night AGAINST Gordon Brown's Finance Bill. Rather strange behaviour for a man who has just written a letter indicating he thinks Gordon Brown is Britain's saviour.

His last speech in Parliament (last week's European debate) was in retrospect quite cryptic:
Mr. Quentin Davies (Grantham and Stamford) (Con): We all know people who have
identity crises of one kind or another. They do not really know what sort of
people they want to be, what their values are, or what sort of life they want to
lead. Such people are among our friends and relations.
Indeed. Most of the Tory MPs I spoke to spoke more in sorrew than anger. No one felt there was much mileage in this and that Davies would feel very uncomfortable on the Labour benches. He has the air of a grandee and is quite right wing on some social issues. There was also a feeling that he hasn't been 'handled' very well. Quentin Davies always like to feel at the centre of things. Although he wasn't part of the Davis campaign team he was a regular provider of information and was 'stroked' to make him feel part of it. Many a time I can remember being in DD's office and Mr Davies's head would pop round the door wanting a minute with David. Unfortunately under the Cameron regime he seems to have been ignored an felt unloved. If he wasn't on the whips' list of potential defectors he ought to have been, and handled accordingly.

A lobby journalist also told me an interesting tale. When he was a young reporter in the 1990s he encountered Quentin Davies in the lobby. He appraoched him for a quote. Davies looked him up and down and asked if here a full member of the lobby. "No, I'm not," replied the journalist. "I thought not," said Davies as he walked off in disdain. People remember things like that.

I have just received the press release from Simon Chapman, chairman of Grantham & Stamford Conservatives...

I heard this news from Quentin Davies with enormous surprise and disappointment. He has let down his constituents and his local party members very badly, and displayed great ill-judgement. David Cameron has launched the most substantial and heavyweight policy review that the Conservative Party has had for generations. As Quentin Davies well knows, that is due to report this summer. Under David Cameron’s leadership the Conservative Party will show that it alone can solve the deep-seated challenges facing Britain in the 21st century, so many of which have been directly caused by the control freakery and incompetence of Gordon Brown. I have no doubt that under David’s leadership the Party will go on to win the next election whenever it is called.

I am astonished to hear about Quentin Davies’s new-found admiration for Gordon Brown, which has not been at all evident before this afternoon. If he is as straightforward and devoted to his constituents as he protests, no doubt he will resign and fight a by-election, so that that the people can decide. Until then, Quentin will have the same lack of democratic mandate that his new leader does.”

Well I think Mr Chapman can whistle for a by-election.

UPDATE: And no mention of Mr Davies on the Labour Party website. Stranger and stranger, said Alice.

UPDATE 5.47: The first anyone knew of this defection came at 2.30 when various political editors were summoned to Gordon Brown's office. They were told they would be getting an interview but Brown's people would not be drawn on the subject. All the pol eds thought they would be interviewing the Great Clunking Fist himself. It wasn't until they turned up at Brown's office (Brown was off in a meeting with Wee Dougie Alexander) that they were told what was going on.

UPDATE 6.11: Ben Brogan has this...
His defection has been in the works for a couple of months, and was the result of a series of one-to-one conversations with Mr Brown. The two had bumped into each other in the Commons one day, and Mr Davies had mentioned a book he had read that might interest the Chancellor, who promptly invited him round for a chat. He is now full of praise for Mr Brown's intellect and his integrity. But his key points are these: "I haven't done any deals at all, this is entirely a matter of conviction. I don't want to be in the new government. I'm joining as a backbencher. As for the Lords, I voted for a 100 per cent elected upper house and never wanted to be outside the Commons. I will seek re-election, but not in my constituency."

What a coward. He didn't even have the guts to tell David Cameron in person. Not someone you'd want to go into the jungle with.

84 comments:

breaking news said...

GUARDIAN LATEST: Tony Blair to fly to Sedgefield constituency tomorrow to resign from parliament with immediate effect.

King Cnut said...

At least he's not defecting to the Tories.

Anonymous said...

I think this has been quite a good day for El Gordo on the whole.

You lot are going to have to get used to this.

quentin cnut said...

I sent him a paper on that, but he didn't read it. Bastard! I resign.

Praguetory said...

Nice statement by Simon Chapman though. Very witty.

gregoryt said...

who's next? there's going to be some common faces...

Anonymous said...

Not that this defection has upset you , Iain, Oh no,siree..

Man in a shed said...

"King Cnut said... At least he's not defecting to the Tories." - that's the best line of the day.

Though I trust we wouldn't have him.

Hamas will be looking forward to his woolly failure to grasp detail, and tendency to sacrifice the future for his own legacy ( See EU constitution treaty and British rebate).... Unless Inspector Yates requires him to surrender his passport. Still if he moves fast perhaps he can be out of the country before it comes to that.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 5.57. Of course it is upsetting. Political parties are tribes and tribes don't like it when one of their own kicks them in the face.

Liberal Republican said...

Quentin website has gone down as well..hmm

but this is the strangest thing, he has voted against some of our main policies and now has joined us?

anyonebutgordon said...

The choreography of the Brown coup becomes clearer.
1) Bring in LibDems to the government (but not the cabinet?) Hey, we're a big tent, government of all the talents, we're centrist and oh no Gordon's not tribal, no siree
2) Tory MP defects with bitter defection PR barbs aimed directly at Cameron (probably written by McPoison)
What next?
- Kill off some Tory policies? Can the ID cards project...allow NHS top-up or co-payments...cancel the NHS NpfIT programme (why Granger has quit?)...announce a big programme of building technology colledges...
- Announce a massive social housing building programme
- Announce some anti-immigration measures
- Surprise us with the Shadow Cabinet
etc
Anything is possible....

Anonymous said...

Calm down Ian! Even the BBC reckons this guy's a loser. When the revolution and/or general election comes, do you think his departure will have made any difference?

Anonymous said...

breaking news said...

GUARDIAN LATEST: Tony Blair to fly to Sedgefield constituency tomorrow to resign from parliament with immediate effect.

June 26, 2007 5:35 PM


It would not be a surprise if he was to fly to his constituency and announce a snap election tomorrow.

Now that would be a shocker!

mark williams said...

Even Blair doesn't want to be in the same party as Q Davies and is resigning tomorrow. I can sympathise with his point of view.

tapestry said...

Iain - that's your own view.

I'm actually happy to see him go. It strengthens Cameron's position because it's happening now. Had it happened three months ago, it would have been less advantageous for us. But right now when Blair has joined in with the Merkel plan to con a continent and pretend the Constitution is not a Constitution, and with Brown setting his face against a referendum, it shows Conservatives and others that Cameron is probably a much firmer protector of British interests in Europe than many thought.

It's just what we needed to rebuild morale after the grammar fisticuffs.

Chris K said...

What is it about Cameron that makes rats swim towards a sinking ship?

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Have just spoken to some close contacts in South Lincolnshire and its emerging this evening that Quentin Davies' defection has nothing to do with policy but more to do with the fact that his local party had been thinking of de-selecting him as far back as January 2006.

In 2005 Quentin Davies was elected as CONSERVATIVE MP for Grantham and Stamford.

Given that the Labour Party were not just beaten but thrashed in Grantham and Stamford in 2005 I believe that Quentin Davies should resign the seat immediately and let the people decide.

He is an absolute disgrace who I have no respect for.

I am absolutely sure that the electorate of Grantham and Stamford feel the same.

Daily Referendum said...

I think we can wave goodbye to a referendum on the EU Treaty. If such a pro-EU man as Davies has joined Labour, then Brown must have assured him the treaty would be signed.

Anonymous said...

Calm down, he's not a 'traitor' or anything like that. I mean if your football team was doing really badly [say, West Ham] and another one nearby [say, Chelsea] were doing really well, wouldn't you consider jumping ship ? I know I would..

tapestry said...

daily ref - Labour have a problem on that. The Democracy Movement publicised that they believe over 50 Labour MPs will rebel. Dennis MacShane conceded there will be 30.

If Conservative and Lib Dem vote for the referendum, Brown will not have a majority.

The Hitch said...

He didnt tell cameron?
That isnt what alan duncan said on radio 4 this afternoon.
He said that this has been going on for months and Cmeron was aware of it.
None of you are worth voting for.

tapestry said...

Interesting Geoffrey. It's a message to other seats containing known Europhiles that the Constituency should move to deselect them more quickly. before they defect.

D.J. McGuire said...

Daily referendum,

That's exactly the opening Cameron can use tomorrow at PMQs: "Will the Prime Minister hold his successor to his word and call for a referendum on the new treaty, or will he follow the Quentin Davies model of betraying constituents, breaking his word, and sacrificing British interest for a European superstate fantasy rammed down the throats of the British people?"

Anonymous said...

Not sure I understand this thing about 'party loyalty' ? You can be a loyal friend to a person, but a party? After all, they may move away from you, and won't care about your 'years of loyal service'.

It is like people who expect their employer to look after them and 'see them right' in return for 'loyal service' when in actual fact they were too feckless or incompetent to get a job elsewhere.

And anyway aren't all politicians ultimately only interested in the party of 'Good old Number One' ?

One only has to look at the post devolution PR machinations of the politicians in the Welsh Assembly to see they will get into bed with anyone in exchange for some power..

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Quentin Davies is going to become a Catholic next...

Daily Referendum said...

Tapestry,

Let's hope that is the outcome. If we don't get a referendum on the Treaty, it will be a sure indication that this government does not value the wishes of the people.

I'm sure Quentin's constituents want a referendum, is he going to betray them twice?

fifteen more years at least. said...

One of the many,your Party is doomed you know,you are all doomed.Ten more years in wilderness for you.

Gordon P.M. said...

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 5.57. Of course it is upsetting. Political parties are tribes and tribes don't like it when one of their own kicks them in the face.

Or comes to their senses.

Fiona said...

Bloody hell, not sure if I want him in my party. What is it with the Tories and Europe?

Pensions for the old folk said...

Daily Referendum said...

Tapestry,I'm sure Quentin's constituents want a referendum, is he going to betray them twice?

You I seem to remember, are not above a bit of jumping from one ship to another as the fancy takes you.

Tewkesbury Member said...

Well done Iain; you've been predicting a defection for some weeks now!! Although may have been in the other direction.

A bit of caution however, many local party members do agree to an extent with Davies' comments about DC. Yes DC should have taken better care of Davies, but what is done is done. But DC needs to take on board an element of what Davies has said and define a handful of principles which we can state on the door step.

Anonymous said...

According to a blog posting some weeks ago on GF, Brown (as part of his first 100 days spectacular) is going to re-introduce mortgage tax relief for first time buyers.

It had the ring of truth, so I pasted it throug to the Tories and got a return email of thanks from Alice Sheffield. I assume this means the tip went all the way to Cameron's office.

So the test for the future is, if this stunt is indeed pulled by Gordo, are the Tories ready with a reply?

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Do you think they'll offer Sedgfield to Quetin Davies?

Can't imagine a Labour seat that would wear him, but Sedgfiled is probably dumb enough to vote for a drawling wannabe patrician Tory wearing a Labour rosette....

Anonymous said...

The Hitch said...None of you are worth voting for.

Still on the medication then ?

tapestry said...

pftof - nothing to hide. UKIP activist 2000-2001. returned to Conservatives in 2001 to back IDS.

Not quite the same thing as Quentin, who should have been deselected, but his Chairman probably backed him and saved his skin. Now look. Better to deselect and ignore past loyalties. It's not a social event. It's power.

Anonymous said...

Fiona said...

Bloody hell, not sure if I want him in my party. What is it with the Tories and Europe?

Let's not get too picky Fiona.

Stamfordian said...

You use the word coward - quite right. What a kick in the teeth for those Stamfordians and others that chose a Tory candidate. He should resign and stand as a Labour candidate. What a pompus arrogant fool, I doubt very much if he will show is face in Stamford High Street in the near future!

Anonymous said...

"Sedgfield is probably dumb enough to vote for a drawling wannabe patrician Tory wearing a Labour rosette.."

Plus ca change. . . .

Paul Seery said...

Not a loss and also it was not Justine Greening so its not all bad. A quick reminder to Mr Davies. He has left a Conservative party that....
*Has an English councillior base of 7,806+ to Labours poultry 3,738+.
*Is present at least 330 councils accross England
*Has a leader in David Cameron that is the most exprienced of the three party political leaders.
*That is on the threshold of seizing power in Welsh assembly in 2011 - 15 targets under 5,000 majorities

Labour and Liberal Democrats members may be cock-a-hoop but do not write off the Conservative Party. This is a marathorn and not a sprint and if Labour think that they have won they can think again.

machiavelli said...

Silly sod; imagine chosing today to jump ship (onto a fast-melting glacier). Change of PM tomorrow, half the country under water, and a dam about to break and drown entire villages...
Exactly how much coverage does this pathetic little toad expect to get?

Daily Referendum said...

Pensions for the old folk,

Once in 37 years is not as the fancy takes me.

But if the Conservatives get in power and they start stripping away our civil liberties and ignoring our wishes as Labour have, then I will change again.

gray said...

This is just too bizarre to be of any political advantage NL.

Anonymous said...

machiavelli - a fair point you make, but then we did see Nick Robinson on the box earlier with the surreal statement 'If Cameron is relaxed about this then I'm a pineapple..' or words to that effect...

Mind you, what is surreal is viewing the BBC News Bunnies saying 'We just hope that the work the engineers are doing will save the dam..' whereas we all know they are hoping and praying that it will be THEIR helicopter that is directly overhead with the film running if and when the dam bursts and floods the M1 and the power station...

If only it were possible that the BBC 'helly telly' were to collide with the chopper taking the PM to Sedgefield in the morning - now that would be a real news story..

Anonymous said...

He is now getting full coverage on News 24..

pensions for old folk said...

Daily Referendum said...

Pensions for the old folk,

No matter how you look at it you jumped ship.Remember the miners when you next decide to leap.We will welcome you back,not a vindictive Party and now "Happy" has left the deck, you have no excuse to stay.

no fibbing allowed said...

Stamfordian said...

You use the word coward - quite right.

Bet you've never been to the bloody place in your life,doubt you had even heard of it until today.

Stuart said...

Anonymous at 6.15pm: yes, I like the idea that TB will visit HMQ tomorrow not to resign as PM but instead to call a General Election. Ho! Ho! Ho! Take that, Gordon.

granthamite said...

Pompous old fool Davies was going to be deselected but jumped ship before he was pushed

Daily Referendum said...

pensions for old folk,

I remember the strike, I'm from Barnsley. A lot of good people lost their jobs. I won't forget that time, but I can't vote for the past, I've got to vote for now and the future.

Thanks for the invite, like I said: if the conservatives let the country down, I could be back.

Anonymous said...


In 2005 Quentin Davies was elected as CONSERVATIVE MP for Grantham and Stamford.


But 53.1% voters cast their vote AGAINST him

When Geoffrey G Brooking gets selected as candidate for his sycophancy this could rise to 100%.

Chris Paul said...

Is Dave-id Cameron planning to go into the jungle? Or you Iain?

And wouldn't it be hilarious if they parachuted the man in to Sedgefield!!

(That ain't going to happen)

Guidos Doppelgaenger said...

Peter Hitchens has an interesting article about his chat with Peter Kellner......

Isn't it about time Cameron was put on notice....he is in Parliament because Shaun Woodward defected to Labour....but is Cameron really any different to Shaun Woodward except that he seems to be helping Labour without crossing the floor ?

Guidos Doppelgaenger said...

Woodward has an authentic voice. It is not the voice of the current Conservative Party. For many years it was obvious, too, that he liked and admired the leading Blairites. "I've known them all for a long time. I've liked them as individuals and known them as friends. I admired the professionalism of Peter Mandelson, the way he got a grip on the communications of the party. I admired Alastair Campbell as a political journalist. My liking of Tony Blair was very different. He created a party that could deliver policies based on the values I have always believed in. I have at least as many conversations with some of these people now as we had in the past. I want to do everything I can to help the Labour Party and this government win a second term with as big a majority as it is possible to get."

Recently, his "conversations" have extended to the Treasury on policies related to the new economy. There has been contact with Millbank over tactics for the next election campaign. He is about to speak at Labour Party meetings around the country. In a minor key, this defector is becoming a player.

He claims that he first considered switching sides as long ago as 1994, when Blair became leader. "I spoke to friends in the Labour Party about it then, but I could never do it while John Major was Conservative leader." For Woodward, Major was the first Blairite. "He believed in Britain being at the heart of Europe, in creating a classless society, a nation at ease with itself, but the right wing never allowed him to lead the party." ..............I would have left anyway over the Tory party's approach to asylum. The deaths in the lorry at Dover demonstrate just how desperate these people are.


MP for Witney 1997-2001

http://www.newstatesman.com/200006260015

Jess The Dog said...

So, a hardened professional snout-trough with a rapidly diminishing career follows the money to bump up his pension.....

Anonymous said...

Cameron lost me on 11 Sept 2006. Davies is absolutely correct about Cameron (as is Graham Brady).

The sooner Cameron's gone, the better.

TomTom said...

So, a hardened professional snout-trough with a rapidly diminishing career follows the money to bump up his pension.....



Hardly - he's a highly-paid Backbencher.....Morgan Grenfell and all that

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I have just read his resignation letter. It pains me to say so, but it does make some very telling criticisms of David Cameron.

Still, for a man who complains that his leader is driven by PR and presentation to defect to LABOUR, beggars belief.

PJ said...

Trumpeter lanfried is right. Complaining about spin and then joining the most spin-obsessed party ever is just bizarre. Needless to say, the BBC didn't take this view.

I think it's good that it happened now, if it had to happen, because people will forget it in a day or two once the Scottish Stalin takes over, despite noone in England ever having cast a single vote for him.

Anonymous said...

tapestry said:

right now when Blair has joined in with the Merkel plan to con a continent and pretend the Constitution is not a Constitution, and with Brown setting his face against a referendum, it shows Conservatives and others that Cameron is probably a much firmer protector of British interests in Europe than many thought.


Good point, tapestry. Cameron's strong opposition to this cosmetically disguised clone of the Constitution has renewed my belief in him.

Good on you, Cameron!

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Iain, the conceit of it all is this.

If there is someone who is still in the Tory party who is far 'worse' from your viewpoint than old Quentin, you will be defending them to the hilt because they are 'one of us' and one of the team and showing 'loyalty to the party'.

But the perverse thing is, someone far 'better' in Tory policy terms, who decided to jump the fence, say to the Liberal Democrats rather than Labour, would still be subject to the same vitriolic vituperation just to frighten off anyone else thinking of making the 'Great Escape'..

This means you are being totally inconsistent. Either slag them off here and now, if you don't like what they are doing in the Tories, or shut the f**k up when they go, so you are not seen as hypocritical and inconsistent when they jump.

In fact, why don't you name and shame some of these people now ? If you don't want them in the Tories, why not make it easier for them ?

Anonymous said...

Got to be the weirdest defection ever.

The stereotypical pinstripe Tory defects to a left lurching Labour party because the Tories are presenting too left wing an image.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what Iain needs is a slightly more tasteful version of that old pub favourite the 'death clock'.. You know, when you put names on a list at the start of the year, and a prize pot is shared as the first, second and third people on the long list 'pop their clogs'.

In this case it wouldn't be so morbid - just a list of potential 'jumpers' with a 'sponsor' name against them, to either get some money, or a t-shirt [or more likely just the approbation of fellow Iain Dale readers] as the turncoats / brave and honourable fellows [delete as appropriate] leave for pastures new. In fact, Iain could even supply a form guide to the runners and riders...

What fun ! Well, one has to do something now that those Labour oiks have banned fox-hunting..


Tally - Ho !!!!

Peter said...

Strange and rather sad, maybe he should be carted of my men in white coats, not red coats. Looks like he's had a mental breakdown to me.

Anonymous said...

Of course Stamford is an interesting place politically, the first place back in the 30's too vote in 2 BUF councillors. Not a lot of people know that.

city trader said...

The deliberately timed defection is already starting to backfire on Gordon Brown. Davies has been pulled apart and accused of spin, dishonesty, and opportunism by both ITV and the BBC tonight.

He's just lost his rag and made a fool of himself on Radio 5.

Anonymous said...

************

QUENTIN DAVIES LIVE ON NEWSNIGHT


************

Lady Finchley said...

The man is a dinosaur - good riddance to him.

Tom Tyler said...

Understandable that you're a bit peeved about this, Iain. Yes, of course, as you say, political parties are tribes, and it is bad form to defect from one to another, unless one can display very clear principled reasons for doing so.
However, stay calm, and let's see what light is shed on this matter over the next few weeks. I don't think any huge damage will be done to your party in the long run. These are the crazy weeks of upheaval, let's wait and let things settle down a bit.

Anonymous said...

What's Quentin done to his index finger ? Pointed it somewhere he shouldn't have ?

Anonymous said...

Latest yougov on sky Tory37 Labour 36
Libdems 12 yes 12
could be ming's epitaph

Anonymous said...

Some great mud slinging going on here on BBC 2 - this is better than the 'Gladiators' !

floating voter said...

Davies is showing himself to be a complete oaf and a buffoon on Newsnight. Brown must be furious watching this.

Anonymous said...

floating voter - can you imagine Broon and Quentin enjoying a whisky together late in the evening in the House of Commons, reminiscing over old times..? Somehow, I can't quite picture it either..

Anonymous said...

The story that Mark Thatcher took £12mill in the Al Yamamah deal and that his mum penned a resignation statement should it get out seems to be about to get new legs.

towcestarian said...

Just watched Newsnight - an absolute scream. Paxo could hardly stop wetting himself.

I mean, what an odious, self-delusional little slug the chap is. The question has to be asked though, what on earth were the Stamford & Lincs party thinking about having him as their representative for so long?

Marquee Mark said...

So bizarre, my cynicism is in overdrive. I believe another MP once defected to another party - on the understanding that his gambling debts would be paid off. Who knows what truly motivates them? Could it perhaps be that he is doing the double-cross - in nine months he will leave Labour, saying how badly he has been let down by Gordon Brown for the following ninety six reasons...

Marquee Mark said...

PS Does he have a butler too?

tapestry said...

Loved the journo who followed Cameron around for 6 weeks and then tried doing the same with Gord.

If you thought the 'Brown Terror' was a joke, just look at the fear in the faces, and the threats used just to stop anyone from daring to ask Brown a question.

The Quentin Davies interview was just embarrassing. He was as convincing as a third rate country solicitor in his first day in court. But the Gordon Brown section was actually frightening. It was Dim Meets Grim.

Alan Duncan did well.

let battle commence said...

Newsnight have certainly got it in for Gordon McStalin at the moment.

What's next I wonder?

Brown must be having one hell of a tantrum at the moment. I wouldn't want to be in Tony McIlroy's size 5 hush puppies.

Roger Thornhill said...

For want of an odd stroke, the MP was lost...for want of...




In the end I expect it will be thought of as a bad show.

Anonymous said...

The latest Yougov poll translates to a Labour majority of 28 - and that's before the defection.

The tories are toast!

Anonymous said...

The Tories can't half pick 'em.

C4' said...

Quentin who?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, do you think for one solitary moment that tthe Tories would ahve called a by-election in Yeovil had David Laws done what your party had asked and crossed over to your party ?