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Top Tory resigns on principle over 42 days bill

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Shadow home secretary David Davis has resigned from Parliament in protest at the Commons' passing of government measures to allow police to detain suspects for 42 days without charge.

Davis will fight a by-election in his constituency of Haltemprice and Howden on the issue of detention. He will stand without the full support of the Tory Party. The LibDems have already said they will not contest the election making his re-election extremely likely. The LibDems finished second in the constituency in 2005.

As well as opposing 42 days, Davis has been a consistent critic of the government's love affair with ID cards and CCTV.

Tory leader David Cameron claims there is no rift between the two and he supports the move, which he described as a personal and not a party decision.

Davis gave his statement to the media after the Speaker of the House ruled it was inappropriate to do so in the Commons.

Davis said he believed the work of politicians was a "noble endeavour" up until yesterday but viewed the Terrorism Bill as a fundamental undermining of the Magna Carta. He accepted that the Bill would likely be rejected by the Lords.

Dominic Grieve is taking over as shadow home secretary.

It's hard not to see Davis' move as grandstanding, designed to pile more pressure on the Brown government, rather than a specific protest at the 42 day limit.

Labour recently endured a miserable by-election campaign in its formerly safe seat of Crewe and Nantwich. Resigning on "principle" over the anti-terror legislation gives Davis and the Tories - and the media - another opportunity to embarrass Brown and, they will hope, to create an impression of a swing away from Labour.®

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