David Davis – backbench troublemaker?

That David Davis – he’s becoming quite the troublemaker from his position on the Tory backbenches.

Yesterday, he made his opinions very clear in The Times regarding the announcement that medical records could be transferred and handled by Google under Tory plans. Given that Davis vested himself as the “Great Defender of Liberty” after his dramatic resignation and by-election win, he has suddenly become the independent voice of civil liberties, or so this article would suggest.

Some of his statements could be seen as a direct attack on David Cameron – if Cameron’s close links to Google are taken into context. Politics.co.uk reported yesterday that Davis has come from his quiet hiding place to become a prominent thorn in the side of Mr. Cameron. Only a few weeks ago, Davis was opening up the grammer schools debate once again – another Tory sore wound. In a recent speech to a meeting on grammer schools, he took a swipe (or what might be described more accurately as a right-hook) at Cameron’s Eton background, and the educational demographic of the shadow cabinet:

“In a thinly-veiled swipe at Eton-educated David Cameron, he told a meeting on grammar schools the only winners from the death of the selective education system were the public school boys who now “dominate” Britain.”

The previously lethal issue of grammer schools caused a long-running headache for the Tory leader in the early months of his leadership. Rather kind of Davis to drag up the issue again.

I wonder how this is going to go down in the Tory frontbench? There are hints that some consider Davis’s remarks to be an open declaration of war. Don’t get too excited – Davis is clearly provoking some kind of reaction, but I seriously doubt Cameron will allow himself to settle the old score with his one-time adversary. I doubt the Tory leader needs a war whilst he’s trying to win the next election, no matter how much provocation Davis attempts. If I happened to be Tory leader, I wouldn’t rise to the bait. Cameron could easily spin Davis’s attacks as deeply-engrained bitterness towards him since losing the 2005 leadership contest – if he wanted open warfare.

Any indication of verbal warfare or political punches is speculative at the moment. I just wait to see what Davis has to say about Tory public spending policy. It could either expose the hidden divisions in the Conservative Party, or show Davis as a bitter loser.

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