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Monmouth MP David Davies does not share the civil libertarian credentials of his near-namesake

Picture 5 Earlier I posted some extracts from the speech made by shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, during the Second Reading debate of the Crime and Security Bill in the Commons yesterday.

Later in the debate came a contribution from Monmouth's Conservative MP, David Davies, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee and a special constable, who is occasionally confused with his near-namesake, the former shadow home secretary.

But from reading the opening paragraphs of his speech, it seems fair to conclude that the Welshman does not share the civil libertarian instincts of David Davis. Here's what he told the House:

"Most of the Bill's provisions ultimately come down to a simple argument about the price of civil liberties as against the price of security. While travelling into London on the tube this morning, I was reading the dreadful stories of what is going on in Haiti. I suppose that at present the people in that country have the ultimate in civil liberties, in that they can go out and do and say what they want and steal what they want, but is anyone more secure for it? No, they are not. Would anyone want to live in Haiti at present, or in any of the other failed states of the world? No, they would not.

"Mention was made earlier of one of the Gulf states, where apparently there is a universal database. I forget the name of the country, but I remember thinking that it is a country where many British people and other westerners have gone to work. They are perfectly happy in that environment. It may not be the paradise of a Liberal Democrat-run council in the desert, but people feel very safe regardless of the level of civil liberties they apparently enjoy.

"What I am trying to say is that, in many ways, security is more important to us than civil liberties. Security has to come first. We all remember that in the '70s we used to say, "Better dead than red", but the reality is that I would prefer just about anything to being dead or to living in a failed state, even if it meant giving up some of my civil liberties."

Jonathan Isaby


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