Will Walter Sweeney attack from the right on 42 days?
Amongst the massive list of contenders for the Haltemprice and Howden by election is a Dublin-born former Tory MP who looks set to attack Davis from the right on 42 day detention period issue.
He is Walter Sweeney who held Vale of Glamorgan for the Tories by 19 votes in 1992 and who had plenty of run-ins with David Davis during the Maastricht votes in the final years of the Major government.
By a striking coincidence there’s a profile of Sweeney by Paul Linford in the first edition of Total Politics that was launched this week.
Linford writes: “…Some say he was prevented from rebelling after locking himself in the loo during the division, others that burly whip David Lightbown held his 18st frame against the toilet door to prevent him leaving..As the general election loomed, Sweeney became more outspoken, calling for Chancellor Ken Clarke to be sacked and replaced by John Redwood, who had stood against John Major for the party leadership in 1995..And in a final flourish, he introduced a Private Membersâ€™ Bill which would have given an absolute legal defence to any householder who found themselves having to shoot a burglar.”
That final sentence gives a strong hint to his attitude to law and order issues.
I have my own personal links with him. In May 1989 I took Sweeney’s Bedfordshire County Council seat off the Tories. Sweeney is now a local solicitor on Humberside.