Davies was a regular Europhilliac bastard during the Major years and since then bumbled around in a series of shadow appointments, culminating in his less than effective two years as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary. It emerged today that he was so highly regarded that David Trimble refused to have meetings with him. (Iain Dale's Diary: Tory Turncoat Joins Labour) References to Davies in Dean Godson's biography of Trimble are few and invariably negative - it seems he only got away with as much as he did because he was one of the few Shadow Cabinet Members unable to undermine Iain Duncan Smith. Even Paddy Ashdown would make a better Northern Ireland Secretary and that's saying a lot.
Since then he's been invisible. I saw him at a Conservative History Group meeting last week but there were also a number of Lords and many from outside Parliament in the room, so it meant nothing.
Yes there'll be Labour crooning over this recruit - although I'd advise Labour members to have a look at Davies' voting record to see if they like what they're getting. And it is not just his voting record that they may not wish to be associated with.
And amongst the reasons Davies gives in his resignation letter is this:
You are the first leader of the Conservative Party who (for different reasons) will not be received either by the President of the United States, or by the Chancellor of Germany (up to, and very much including, Iain Duncan Smith every one of your predecessors was most welcome both in the White House and in all the chancelleries of Europe).I don't mind the party leader being unpopular in the George W. Bush White House. Or care about some grouping in the European Parliament that is contrary to the interests of the Conservative Party.
...I have never done business with people who deliberately break contracts, and I knew last year that if you left the EPP-ED Group I could no longer remain in a party under your leadership.
So don't think for one moment I'm shedding tears at this loss. Nor are many others - see ConservativeHome: Quentin Davies MP defects to Labour!. Who knows it may turn out for better. Sean Woodward's joining Labour contributed nothing to them. His leaving us contributed everything.
Does anyone else fancy raising a little leaving present for him? I think £1.50 in 5p pieces would be appropriate.