Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 11:58 UK

Voters terrify Brown, says Davis

David Davis launches his campaign
Half of the 25 candidates standing against Mr Davis are independents

Gordon Brown has shown he is "terrified" of voters in not putting up a Labour candidate in Haltemprice and Howden, David Davis has said.

Launching his by-election campaign, he said Mr Brown had lost his deposit in Henley and had now "lost his nerve".

"Macavity may be hiding but we will have this national debate," he said, referring to civil liberties.

The former shadow home secretary is up against 25 opponents, of which more than half are independents.

He stood down two weeks ago, in protest at what he calls the erosion of British liberties, after the government won a controversial vote on extending pre-charge detention limits for terrorism suspects.

Labour has dismissed the by-election as a stunt and a waste of money, while the Liberal Democrats say they will not stand a candidate as they agree with Mr Davis's protest.

Detention vote

Asked about the 25 other candidates, who as well as the Greens, English Democrats and Christian Party include the Monster Raving Loony Party and Miss Great Britain Party, he said: "The issue here is who is not standing, not who is standing... The Labour Party is not standing because it is afraid of the debate."

"In yesterday's by-election Gordon Brown lost his deposit, in today's by-election he lost his nerve," he said.

You define the courage of your convictions through the actions you take, not the hollow words of a ghost writer
David Davis

Mr Davis said Gordon Brown had taken office a year ago with a pledge to "protect the British way of life" and had promised to write the next chapter on British liberty.

But he said the "relentless erosion of British liberty has continued unabated" adding that the trigger for his resignation was the "rigged vote" on extending pre-charge detention limits.

He said Britain had already had the longest pre-charge detention period in the "free world".

"Brown's Britain now tops a whole range of international league tables" including the imminent arrival of the most intrusive ID card system in the world, the most CCTV cameras per head and the biggest DNA database."

Capital punishment

Mr Davis said resigning his seat had been a difficult decision but said: "You define the courage of your convictions through the actions you take, not the hollow words of a ghost writer."

"This country respects those people who stick up for what they believe in and don't bend to the opinion polls."

He said his campaign was already achieving its aims - in gathering support and in recent announcements from ACPO recognising anxiety of abuses of authority and the local government association about council surveillance powers.

However the Green Party, who launched their candidate Shan Oakes's campaign earlier this week, said Mr Davis supports a number of measures they believe threaten civil liberties, including capital punishment.

Mr Davis is thought to be facing the highest number of candidates to stand at a by-election in recent times. Polling will be held on 10 July.

Labour has dismissed the by-election as a stunt. Deputy leader Harriet Harman previously accused Mr Davis of "wasting over 80,000 to run a by-election, paid for by the council taxpayers".

This by-election is a frolic and it's more to do with internal divisions in the Conservative Party."

At the 2005 general election, Mr Davis won with a majority of 5,116.

Here is the full list of candidates:

  • 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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