Is Davis the person the party would turn to after Cameron?
It used to be that the highlight of Tory conferences, aside from the leader’s speech, was the appearance of the person responsible for home affairs. Crime and the control of criminals are issues that touch a raw nerve with Tories and the party expects stout and robust leadership on the issue.
This afternoon’s appearance by David Davis was even more poignant because if the party decided, as has become its practice, to oust a failing leader then Davis would surely be the favourite to get the job. So if there is a November election and Cameron flops then David Davis might be the next in line.
I have to admit that I have admired Davis for the very stoic way he took defeat in the 2005 leadership election. He is a real model to other politicians in the same predicament.
He’s also got the most promising portfolio – the latest Mori monitor finds the top issue worrying voters is Crime and anti-social behaviour. As to which party has the best policies for dealing with this the Tories have a big lead.
David has already seen off a whole host of Labour Home Secretaries and other ministers. Would he be a good opposition leader? The answer is probably yes in terms of harrying the government and bringing ministers to account. Probably less so in terms of public appeal.
His hope, though rests on an early election and Cameron failing or if the opinion polls continue to be awful for the Tories. I’m not sure if either is going to happen.