Insights from the UK and beyond
Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has scored the first own goal of the Haltemprice & Howden by-election, just hours after saying he was a likely candidate for the Humberside seat.
In off-camera comments broadcast by BBC television he described Hull as “an absolute shocker, it’s beyond shock, actually.”
Asked by the BBC to explain, MacKenzie dismissed his comments as a “joke” and said he had never actually been to the port city, whose western suburbs fall within the constituency’s boundaries
The by-election was triggered by former Conservative Shadow Home Secretary David Davis on Thursday, who will defend his 5,000 majority on the single issue of opposing government plans to extend pre-charge detention for terrorism suspects to 42 days.
As much as stunned Labour MPs wander around like Corporal Jones telling each other not to panic after the dreadful result for them in Crewe, many of the newspapers believe Gordon Brown’s days are now numbered.
The Guardian, under the headline “Brown faces meltdown,” says he is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership in the run-up to the Autumn party conference. Like many other newspapers it says the decision to dress Labour activists in top hats and deride the Conservative candidate as a “toff” was a fundamental mistake, albeit one endorsed by Brown.