David Davis remarks cause backlash from MPs

By Lydia Jackson

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Conservative MP, has faced criticism after texts have been leaked which insult fellow MP Diane Abbott.

The text was sent after an exchange between him and Abbott in the House of Commons Bar on Wednesday.

This was after the Brexit vote, whereby the House of Commons MPs decided to trigger Article 50, a right earned through the Supreme Court case which took place last month.

It deemed that the government could not begin the formal legal process of leaving the European Union without there first being a vote in parliament.

Labour MPs had been instructed to vote in favour of allowing Theresa May to initiate processes to leave the European Union by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Mail stated that Mr Davis had attempted to hug and kiss Ms Abbott, a Labour MP, after she had voted in favour of triggering the bill despite her reservations. Ms Abbott reportedly responded by telling him to “fuck off”.

In response, Davis sent private text messages to a friend denying the insinuations, stating “I am not blind”.

As a result, he has been coined by Shadow attorney general Baroness Shami Chakrabarti as “very silly, sexist and patronising”. Labour MP Chuka Umunna has also described Davis as “sexist” and “misogynistic”.

Mr Davis’ spokesperson has since apologised to Abbott on his behalf.

David Davis has seen a long career within the Conservative party since first becoming a Member of Parliament in the 1987 general election as the MP for Boothferry, which subsequently, in 1997, became the constituency of Haltemprice and Howden.

He has previously made bids for leadership in 2001 and 2004, securing second and then fourth place.

After defeat by Cameron, David Davis was appointed by the then new Conservative party leader as Shadow Home Secretary.

However, in 2008 he resigned in order to make a point regarding civil liberties, and raise his concerns over infringements upon them.

Shortly afterwards during the 2008 by-elections he was elected as MP once again for Haltemprice and Howden, and maintained this role as a backbencher whilst campaigning for civil liberties.

Theresa May brought him into the cabinet as Brexit Secretary when she was elected as Prime Minister in 2016.

Diane Abbott currently holds office as Shadow Home Secretary, and was the first female from an African Caribbean background to become an MP.

She began her career in the House of Commons in 1987 after becoming Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Abbott has made a strong reputation for herself through her advocating of civil liberties which has earnt her 2008 Parliamentary Speech of the Year Award from Spector magazine, as well as recognition at the 2008 Human Rights awards.

In 2010 Ms Abbott stood in the leadership contest, however was knocked out in the first round. Upon Ed Miliband assuming office as Prime Minister she was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Health.

She was sacked from this position by Miliband in 2013, however was reappointed to the front bench by Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

In 2016 she was promoted to Shadow Health Secretary, and then Shadow Home Secretary.