Davis stopped MP exodus

Mr Davis appears to have considrable support in parliament
Mr Davis appears to have considrable support in parliament

David Davis narrowly stopped more MPs leaving the Commons when he resigned, it has been revealed.

The Evening Standard is reporting two more MPs - one Tory and one Labour - offered to trigger by-elections in their own constituencies when Mr Davis resigned as an MP.

Mr Davis convinced them to stay on, however, saying: "There should only be one sacrifice."

The news comes as David Cameron gave his strongest hint yet that Mr Davis would not return as shadow home secretary.

At his monthly press conference, Mr Cameron reiterated his disagreement with Mr Davis' strategy.

"It's very important that I have a team that is the top permanent team ready to take over and ready to challenge the government.

"There was an honest disagreement between me and David. He wanted to do this by-election and I didn't agree with the tactic because I think the way we oppose the government is in parliament. I think we have to show at all times a strong and united team. You can't put home affairs on hold, there are huge problems with knife crime.

"It was an honest disagreement, but I admire his courage and I'm sure it will be a very strong campaign he'll fight. I look forward to seeing him back before long."

Senior figures in the party are suggesting Mr Davis could be given responsibility for 'liberty' when, or if, he returns, in a role just short of ministerial standard. Mr Davis has repeatedly stated he would not return to any frontbench role apart from that of shadow home secretary.

In a related development, Andy Burnham, the Labour MP who caused outrage by saying Mr Davis enjoyed "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" with Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti has stopped just short of an apology following threats from her legal team of a lawsuit.

In a letter to the civil liberties campaigners, Mr Burnham writes: "I have been genuinely taken aback at an interpretation placed on my remarks by others that I did not intend."

Despite not being the full apology she demanded, Ms Chakrabarti seems to have accepted the letter.

"I am grateful for Mr Burnham's letter, which seems to show genuine regret for the distress his remarks caused me and my family," she said.

"These remarks coincided with a relentless campaign of Westminster gossip that could only distract from serious issues and discourage young women from entering public life."


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.