London, June 20 : Britain's leading human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti has threatened to sue Cabinet Minister Andy Burnham over allegations that he smeared her by making suggestive remarks about her relationship with David Davis.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, has taken the extraordinary step of threatening to take legal action against Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, and demanding that he issue a written apology.
Chakrabarti has written a strongly worded letter to Burnham after he accused her of having "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" with Davis, former shadow Home Secretary.
Chakrabarti, 39, who is married with a young son, has failed to see the funny side of the remarks in this week's Progress magazine, The Telegraph reported.
She is demanding a written apology from Mr Burnham to herself and Doreen Davis, the wife the of the ex-MP who resigned his seat this week to fight a by-election on the issue of civil liberties in protest at the Government's 42 days plans.
In the article, Burnham appears to imply that Davis' stance was a result of his close relationship with the civil liberties chief and their "curious" phone calls.
In her letter, copied to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, and Chief whip Geoff Hoon, Chakrabarti said that she is surprised at Burnham's actions, given that he is himself married with young children.
She goes on to warn that she will launch legal proceedings if the allegations are repeated.
Chakrabarti, who was left distraught at Burnham's article, told friends that she is reluctant to sue, as she is a champion of free speech, but that any money won from legal proceedings will go to Liberty's campaign funds.
She has been in close contact with Doreen Davis since the "smears" first emerged, and the two women have comforted each other.
Meanwhile, attacking the Culture Secretary, Davis said: "Labour has now resorted to personal smears and lies rather than make its case for 42-day detention."