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19 June 2008

Wanted: A Liberal Challenger to David Davis

The New Statesman this week calls for a genuinely liberal candidate to stand against David Davis. Wh

By Martin Bright

Here is the full text of this week’s New Statesman leader. Any suggestions for a candidate to challenge David Davis most welcome.

Labour voters deserve a choice

The New Statesman has opposed the extension of detention without charge for terror suspects to 42 days from the moment it was proposed by Gordon Brown. The argument for detaining these suspects for six weeks has never been made to our satisfaction, nor, indeed, that of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

This magazine could never endorse the candidacy of David Davis in the coming by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency. Davis is a right-wing Conservative, as can be seen from his stance on a range of issues from the Human Rights Act to the death penalty. But neither do we share in the general sneering that emanated from the Westminster village following his resignation. The former shadow home secretary has succeeded in his main aim of keeping the issue of civil liberties in the public eye, and we applaud him for that.

Already, Gordon Brown has been forced to address Davis’s concerns in a point-by-point riposte. There is briefing that Labour will not put up a candidate in opposition. This would be disrespectful to the people of Haltemprice and Howden, who deserve the chance to hear Labour, on the ground, making the case for 42 days.

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However, it is also a good opportunity for an independent candidate to make the genuinely liberal argument against 42 days, putting up a robust defence of the universal human rights that Davis does not support.

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Such a candidate would receive the full backing of the New Statesman.