Davis: Sun can 'bring it on'

Mr Davis is making the political gamble of his career
Mr Davis is making the political gamble of his career

David Davies has told the Sun newspaper it can "bring it on" if it wants to campaign against him in his constituency by-election.

He said he would prefer to run against Labour so he can tackle the issue of 42-day detention with the government but that he would be happy to fight Kelvin Mackenzie, former editor of the Sun, as well.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "The best outcome for this is for Gordon Brown not to the treat the electorate with contempt."

The danger of David Davis running alone for the seat of Haltemprice and Howden has been partially dispelled by the announcement the Sun is poised to put forward Mr Mackenzie as a pro-42 days candidate.

The newspaper, which has run a strong campaign in favour of Tony Blair's call for 90-days and Gordon Brown's call for 42-days, may be the only opposition Mr Davis faces in his unprecedented campaign to bring British civil liberties to the forefront of public debate.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Mackenzie said he was "90 per cent certain" he would stand if Labour did not contest the by-election.

The Liberal Democrats, his main competitor in the constituency, announced immediately they would not run against him following discussions between Mr Davis and Nick Clegg, the party leader, earlier in the week.

Labour is still deciding whether it will run. The party is weighing up whether to neutralise the issue by not running or whether put their side of the argument to the public. Not running allows the Tories to stew in their own juices after an unusually good day of headlines for Labour, but it would also demonstrate a lack of confidence in Mr Brown's repeated claims to have public opinion on his side.

Asked about the resignation earlier today, Gordon Brown said the Tories were "totally divided" and that Mr Davis' action was a "stunt that has become a farce".

"What we know is that the first test of what their policy is on the big central issue of national security, the Conservative party are totally divided. They are even divided on the issue of CCTV to cut crime. and the issue of how we use DNA to stop murderers," he continued.

Comments from Harriet Harman, deputy Labour leader, indicated the party would not run.

"A by-election is not necessary and it is irresponsible to be calling a by-election when it is unnecessary," she said.

"What this is really about is the conflicts and divisions within the Conservative party on the important issues of terrorism and national security."

Even the BNP has said it will not run against Mr Davis, because they agree with him on 42-day detention. UKIP has said they will run if Labour do, although Godfrey Bloom, one of its MEPs has said he will campaign for Mr Davis if asked.

Mr Davis told Radio 4's Today programme his actions were a necessary stand against the gradual encroachment upon civil liberties in Britain.

"We're a party not a regiment and we're in politics hopefully, and virtually in all cases, for reasons of principle," he said.

He said if Labour did not stand a candidate "they're going to show that they're ashamed of their own policies, that they're unwilling to put things like the 42-day policy in front of an impartial audience, rather than ones they can bribe or bully".


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