By Ian Dunt
Two of the most respected figures in the Conservative party were at war today, after former shadow home secretary David Davis told Theresa May he was not going to "tolerate" her arguments.
The comment came after the home secretary gave an interview to the Sun newspaper saying those who oppose her online snooping bill were putting people's lives at risk.
"There are perfectly legitimate arguments to be had. But what you can't do is effectively impugn the motives of people who disagree with you," Davis said as he raised a point of order in the Commons.
May was "traducing a large number of people in this House" and undermining the work of the joint committee investigating the proposal, he added.
"That’s what she did, and frankly I wasn't going to tolerate it," he said.
Davis, who quit as shadow home secretary to run a by-election on civil liberties, accused May of trying to "assault the reputation of those who disagree" with her.
May took her rhetoric to new levels yesterday, with a Sun article which insisted we "could see people dying" if the communications data bill was not passed.
"The people who say they’re against this bill need to look victims of serious crime, terrorism and child sex offences in the eye and tell them why they're not prepared to give the police the powers they need to protect the public," she said.
"It’s a question of whose side you're on.
"Anybody who is against this bill is putting politics before people's lives."
The joint committee investigating the proposals is expected to reject it out of privacy concerns and the Liberal Democrats are on the verge of removing their support.
The plans would give authorities access to internet users' communications, such as who they talk to and when, although they would probably not be able to access the actual content of messages.
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By Ian Dunt