A week ago we wondered if David Davis would struggle to keep his campaign in the news. Thanks to Culture Minister Andy Burnham we needn’t have worried. Mr Burnham is having to back pedal furiously after Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti threatened to sue him for talking about "late night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" with Mr Davis. In a letter to Mr Burnham, that the Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh has published, she writes:
"By your comments you debase not only a great office of state but the vital debate about fundamental rights and freedoms in this country. Indeed you seem reluctant to engage in that debate except in this tawdry fashion. I look forward to your written apology as I’m sure does Mrs Davis. If on the other hand you choose to continue down the path of innuendo and attempted character assassination, you will find that the privileged legal protection of the parliament chamber does not extend to slurs made in the wider public domain."
Two Tory women MPs and the LibDems’ Lynne Featherstone have joined the protests against Mr Burnham’s remarks:
Justine Greening; "Shami has worked with MPs of all parties to raise the concerns she has. She is completely driven but incredibly professional."
Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Equalities spokeswoman, says: "Shami’s fight for civil liberties is unimpeachable. Any many who thinks that it is okay to speak like that and claim it is political knock-about clearly hasn’t understood the women’s movement."
Shadow Justice minister Eleanor Laing says: "This sinks politics to a new low. If David Davis had had late-night talks with a man that would have been seen as part of the old-boys network but as soon as a woman is involved, there is this appalling innuendo."