North West Liberal Democrat MEP has challenged his Ukip opposite number to a series of public debates in the run up to May’s European parliament elections.

Chris Davies is asking business and voluntary groups in Wirral to take a lead in organising the events, which he claims will highlight key issues of the campaign.

He has called on Ukip Euro MP  Paul Nuttall to join him in giving local people the chance to hear their different views about Britain’s membership of the European Union before they cast their votes.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has already agreed to debate the issues with Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister.

But Davies says the national exchange should be matched by debates between rival candidates in towns and cities across the North West.

The MEP says he is waiting to hear Mr Nuttall’s response to his challenge but claims that their contest could inject more interest into the election battle.

He said: “The contrast between the views of Liberal Democrats and UKIP could hardly be greater. We are almost diametrically opposed in our attitude towards Britain in Europe.

“I believe that UKIP will put jobs at risk, reduce Britain’s influence over decisions that will affect us, and weaken our ability to promote the values we hold dear.

Mr Davies says he would welcome invitations from local groups who are prepared to host a debate.

He can be contacted at