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David Davis cruises to victory in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 11 July 2008

David Davis wins with a 15,355 majority in a by-election triggered by his stand on civil liberties.

But the political cost to the former shadow home secretary's career is hard to calculate.

Conservative leader David Cameron indicated this morning that Mr Davis could not expect a quick return to the shadow cabinet.

The Conservative MP resigned his seat and forced a by-election in June, standing on a civil liberties platform in protest at the government's 42-day terror detention bill.

The by-election attracted a record 26 candidates, 23 of whom lost their £500 deposits having failed to gain more than 5 per cent of the votes.

Result in brief

David Davis Conservative Party 17,113 votes
Shan Oakes Green Party 1,758 votes
Joanne Robinson English Democrats 1,714
All other candidates lost their deposit.
Turnout : 23,911 (34 per cent)

David Davis' did improve his majority from 5,116, but his main opponents in general elections, the Liberal Democrats, chose not to run because they also oppose an extension of the time limit on holding terrorism suspects. The Labour party also refused to stand in the by-election, condemning Mr Davis's move as a waste of money.

Despite the majority, Davis' overall vote base was also down from 22,792 at the last general election, mainly as a result of the low turnout.

Although slightly higher than predicted, the turnout for the by-election fell from 70.2 per cent at the last general election to just 34 per cent.

Turnout was also lower than other recent by-elections, with 50.3 per cent of Henley's voters and 57.7 per cent of Crewe and Nantwich voters taking part in their respective polls.

Davis wanted to fight the election on the issues of civil liberties, including plans for 42-days detention which prompted his resignation. Those who backed his campaign and attended debates in his constituency included Sir Bob Geldof.

Yet few of the 25 candidates who stood against him, which included Miss Great Britain and a representative from the Church of the Militant Elvis party, stuck to the same brief.

Frontbench future

David now returns to the House of Commons, vowing to continue his campaign for civil liberties, but the former shadow home secretary's frontbench career is uncertain.

This morning, David Cameron said that his was "delighted" that Mr Davis, who was his main opponent in the 2005 Conservative leadership campaign, had won the poll, but said: "Obviously, I will talk to him about what the future holds, but I have a very strong shadow cabinet.

"David is a very strong Conservative and a very big figure in our party and I'm sure there are all sorts of ways in which he will be able to contribute in the future."

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