In launching his bid yesterday to become leader of the Conservative Party, and leader of the Opposition, David Davis explicitly mentioned uniting the various communities in Britain to form one nation.

Mr Davis who is a former Europe Minister and is currently the Shadow Home Secretary is seen by some as the front-runner in the race to succeed Michael Howard as the Tory’s chief.

Mr Davis said: “I want to build a new consensus for change, using modern Conservative ideas to achieve the goal of social justice that for too long have been claimed by the Left.

By standing for the shared British values of decency and tolerance which bind us all – single, married, black, white, young, old, gay and straight – we can build one nation.”

It is expected that together with the other contenders for the top job, Mr Davis will seek to woo the growing number of gay Conservatives.

Mr Davis famously stood up for gay rights when he intervened in the torturing of a gay pupil by a gang of bullies at his tough inner London school.

Speaking to the Daily Mail earlier this month Mr Davis recalled; “the whole school was outraged when the gay boy was suspended and the gang were let off. Everyone said something must be done and they all looked at me. I wasn’t Yul Brynner, I was bloody terrified. I thought they might beat the hell out of me.

“I remember walking down the school drive to where they were waiting for me, with the whole school watching. It was the loneliest 300 yards I have ever walked. I went up to them and they just broke up. It worked.”

There are currently four other declared candidates, Kenneth Clarke, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Liam Fox and David Cameron.