It is a sign of just how far to the right New Labour has moved when it can be challenged on civil liberties by the Tory shadow home secretary, the hard right David Davis MP.
Last week, as Davis resigned his seat to force a by-election he hopes will be centred on the issue of 42-day detention without charge, Gordon Brown labelled Davis’s move a “farce.”
New Labour pipsqueaks – who would not resign from parliament if they were caught attempting to murder their mother – all followed suit. And this soon became the position of the entire political establishment.
You don’t need to support Davis to see the sneering as an indictment of the Westminster political class and New Labour in particular.
What if a Labour backbencher, who opposed 42-day detention, had taken the lead and resigned their seat over the issue?
They could have become a rallying point for the left, the anti-war movement and civil liberty campaigners.
Those MPs would doubtless respond that if they did such a thing, they would be thrown out of the Labour Party.
But by abandoning the field to Davis, they have allowed the Tories to hijack yet another left wing issue with which to beat New Labour.