David Davis’ one man campaign to halt the UK’s drift into Big Brotherdom took a dive today as it emerged that the biggest brother of them all will not now campaign against him in a by-election.
Former Sun editor Kelvin is not expected to stand in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election which Davis triggered in protest at the passing of Common’s approval of 42 days pre-charge detention for terrorist suspects last week.
MacKenzie’s short-lived Rupert Murdoch-backed candidacy was scuppered after News International execs decided the move could – possibly - sour relations with the Tory party, The FT reports.
The paper said MacKenzie’s election drive was dreamt up at a birthday party for Sun editor Rebekah Wade last Thursday. By Friday MacKenzie had thrown himself into the campaign with gusto, saying the majority of the population thought 42 detention was not enough for terrorist suspects while managing to insult Hull by describing it to one TV journalist as a “shocker”.
But while the Tory party is supposed to be privately furious at Davis’ move, it is still (publicly) against 42 days and a range of similar Labour policies including ID cards. It is now thought that News International doesn’t want to get in a public slanging match with the party which may very well form the next UK government.
The Libdems have already said they will not stand, and Labour is set to si it out too, as it faces a heads you win, tails I lose chance of success.
So, MacKenzie’s withdrawal leaves Davis facing the prospect of spending weeks debating 42 days, ID cards et al with such constitutional heavyweights as the Monster Raving Looney Party, The BNP and UKIP. ®