6.30pm The full transcript of the interview is now online in which David Davis also talks about the discussion he had with David Cameron and George Osborne about tactics on the 42-day issue.
Former shadow Home Secretary David Davis has given an interview to tomorrow’s New Statesman in which he reveals how desperately David Cameron tried to stop him from resigning his seat (and frontbench post) to fight that by-election in Haltemprice and Howden earlier in the summer.
The article is not yet online, but here is an extract:
He is remarkably frank about Cameron’s reaction to his subsequent fait-accompli resignation.
"Well, he was a bit surprised, to say the least. He said: ‘Why?’ His first question was why. And I went through it, and he said: ‘Well, I don’t . . .’ [Davis hesitated] ‘ . . . it’s very risky.’ And I said: ‘Yeah, but the risk is all mine, David.’ And he said there is a risk to our lead [in the polls]. I said, no, I don’t think there is. [I said] I think actually you’ll find that the public will respond well to this, and he wasn’t at all sure about that, so there was a difference of view."
Did Cameron try to dissuade him from resigning? "Yes, of course he did." How strenuously? "Well, several times during the course of the evening. Leaders don’t have great tranches of time." Davis went on to describe how a panicked Cameron was repeatedly ringing his outgoing shadow home secretary’s mobile phone. "And he wasn’t the only one." Who else? Osborne? "I’m not going to get into that," he said, laughing.
Davis goes on to admit that he realised what a difficult position he put David Cameron in and that he was indeed "rocking the boat". But he says without hesitation that the Conservatives can win the next election under David Cameron, even accepting that his leader may be more in tune with modern Britain, before mischievously adding the proviso: "in the south anyway".