Page last updated at 01:14 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 02:14 UK

Voting ends in Haltemprice poll

David Davis casts his vote
Mr Davis's resignation came as a surprise to his colleagues

The polls have closed in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, sparked by the surprise resignation of ex-shadow home secretary David Davis.

He quit in June, the day after the vote on terror detention, to fight for his seat on a civil liberties platform.

He is expected to regain the seat - the Lib Dems and Labour are not standing although 25 other candidates are.

Early estimates put turnout at about 35%, higher than many expected, and a declaration is expected shortly.

Official turnout figures are not yet in but Conservative sources have told the BBC they expect it to be about 35%.

Back to backbenches?

Mr Davis told BBC Two's Newsnight 35% was a "spectacular figure" and showed the people of Haltemprice and Howden had been "listening".

He said if re-elected: "The rest of this campaign starts tomorrow" - adding that he would continue to fight to stop the government bringing in the legislation to extend pre-charge detention limits, which has been passed by MPs but is still going through the House of Lords.

But he said he did not expect to be invited back onto the Conservative front bench and was "perfectly happy" to continue his fight from the backbenches.

Mock ballot paper

Among the 25 candidates standing against him, a record for a by-election, are the Greens, English Democrats and Christian Party.

There are so many candidates that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has decided against erecting the usual temporary stage for them all to stand on at the count.

"We were worried we wouldn't have a stage that could hold them, both width and weight wise," said a spokeswoman.

Instead they will stand on the floor in a semi-circle around a small platform for the count.

At the last general election Mr Davis won the seat with a 5,116 majority over the Liberal Democrats.

But the Lib Dems chose not to run this time, because they also opposed the government's plans to extend the time limit on holding terrorism suspects, before they have to be charged, from 28 to 42 days.

And Labour have refused to stand, describing the by-election as a farce and a waste of more than 80,000 of public money.

Mr Davis has accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of being "gutless" and said he should have used the by-election to argue the government's position.

Among those who have backed his campaign and attended debates in the constituency are Bob Geldof, Iraq war veteran Col Tim Collins - and a Labour MP, Bob Marshall Andrews.

But the Green Party has questioned Mr Davis's stance on some civil liberties issues - including his support for the 28-day limit on holding terror suspects without charge, increased from 14 days in 2005, and his views on capital punishment and gay rights.

And rape law campaigner Jill Saward, who stood as an independent, criticised his opposition to extending the DNA database and CCTV - which she sees as "the very tools the police need to keep us safe".

The full list of candidates was:

  • Grace Christine Astley - Independent
  • David Laurence Bishop - Church of the Militant Elvis Party
  • Ronnie Carroll - Make Politicians History
  • Mad Cow-Girl - The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
  • David Craig - Independent
  • Herbert Winford Crossman - Independent
  • Tess Culnane - National Front Britain for the British
  • Thomas Faithful Darwood - Independent
  • David Michael Davis - Conservative
  • Tony Farnon - Independent
  • Eamonn "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick - Independent
  • Christopher Mark Foren - Independent
  • Gemma Dawn Garrett - Miss Great Britain Party
  • George Hargreaves - Christian Party
  • Hamish Howitt - Freedom 4 Choice
  • David Icke - No party listed
  • John Nicholson - Independent
  • Shan Oakes - Green Party
  • David Pinder - The New Party
  • Joanne Robinson - English Democrats: Putting England First
  • Jill Saward - Independent
  • Norman Scarth - Independent
  • Walter Edward Sweeney - Independent
  • Christopher John Talbot - Socialist Equality Party
  • John Randle Upex - Independent
  • Greg Wood - Independent




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