If it all comes apart post-referendum, Boris is the favourite for the leadershipby Alex Dean / June 15, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
“There will be a short period, probably measured in weeks, in which there will still be a bit of hysteria—no doubt about that—but then what will surface will be in the national interest of this country.”
In an exclusive interview with Prospect, David Davis, the Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden and prominent Brexiteer, rejected the idea that the European Union will seek to punish Britain if we vote to leave on 23rd June: “It’s highly unlikely—you’re talking tiny fractions of a per cent—that the EU will stick to a punitive line.” Not when “we are Germany’s fastest growing market—we’re their biggest export market within the EU.”
Davis, an MP since 1987, stood for party leader in 2005—when he lost to David Cameron. Davis’ background could not be more different from the victors’ aristocratic upbringing—he was raised by a single mother on a council estate.
In 2008, furious at the Labour government’s support for the 42-day detention of terror suspects without charge, he resigned as an MP and as Shadow Home Secretary in order to stand in a by-election on a civil liberties platform. It is widely understood that this is when a split really emerged between him and Cameron, who was unimpressed with the move.
He remains highly respected by large parts of the Conservative Party, and had harsh words for his long-time rival and his leadership team.
Criticising George Osborne (who makes the case for “Remain” on page 14), Davis argued that “George says the ‘Leave’ case—or the people—are economically illiterate. Well, people are not going to react well to that.”
On the question of who should lead the negotiations with the EU in the event of a “Leave” vote, Davis said “no one in [Cameron’s] inner circle. Bluntly, after the failed negotiation [earlier this year, when Cameron attempted to secure new membership terms], it is necessary to have another team do that job.”