The Daily Telegraph may still be broadsheet-sized but it is in danger of following other newspapers down the low road to tabloid sensationalism. Today’s Telegraph reports the following:
"David Davis, the shadow home secretary, issues a warning to David Cameron today that he will quit his shadow cabinet if the new Tory leader takes the Conservatives to the Left."
That is a terrible distortion of what David Davis actually said in an interview with The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson. Mr Davis actually said that David Cameron’s strategy "is not a swerve to the Left. I would not be in the shadow Cabinet, I would not be doing this, if it was." Read The Telegraph and you’d think David Davis was issuing a threat. Read Fraser Nelson’s actual interview and you read David Davis affirming the Tory leader.
The interview portrays a figure who is combining loyalty to his principles with loyalty to David Cameron and that combination has won him an 80% net satisfaction rating in the ConservativeHome Members’ Panel. Mr Davis is understood to believe that his job is to represent The Tory Right to Mr Cameron and Mr Cameron to The Tory Right. Despite nervousness amongst the Tory Right about tax, Mr Davis is relaxed:
"Everyone knows I’m a low-tax Tory, and I would not be in the shadow Cabinet if I didn’t think a Cameron government with George Osborne in the Treasury would not mean, in the medium to long term, a lower-tax society."
Fraser Nelson’s interview reveals that David Davis is influencing the man who beat him to the Tory crown. We already knew that Mr Davis only stayed in post when David Cameron agreed to let him keep the tough, Howard-era line on cannabis. From the Nelson interview we now also know that he has reassured the Tory leader on opposing ID cards and ensured that ‘Built To Last’ talked about tackling poverty rather than inequality.