Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey said Thursday (June 27) that MI6 once tried to recruit him to be a spy overseas.

Mr Davey made the remarks on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme Thursday morning.

He is one of two Liberal Democrat MPs currently standing to replace Twickenham MP Vince Cable as Lib Dem leader.

Victoria Derbyshire hosted a Q and A debate between Mr Davey and his rival for the leadership Jo Swinson, the MP for East Dumbartonshire.

Telling the studio audience and TV viewers why he believed he was the best candidate for the next leader of the Lib Dems, Mr Davey revealed he had previously been approached by Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6.

"As a younger man I almost served our country in a different way.

"MI6 tried to recruit me to become a spy overseas, but I'd just been appointed to be the economic adviser to (former Lib Dem leader) Paddy Ashdown, so I never became double-o Davey," the Kingston and Surbiton MP said.

The remarks prompted laughs from the studio audience and a gasp of "no!" from host Victoria Derbyshire.

When quizzed on his decision to become an advisor to Mr Ashdown rather than spy for Britain overseas, Mr Davey added that he thought one could serve the country even more through politics.

"I think (in) politics you can serve our country in even bigger ways.

"Clearly being a spy you can help keep our country safe, but working for Paddy was pretty exciting — you never knew what he was going to do next," he said.

During the hustings on the BBC's daytime news show, Mr Davey discussed a wide range of issues including his commitment to tackling the climate crisis, his dismissal of working with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his opposition to Brexit.

Having previously stated favouring a "national unity" government to be fronted by either one of two centre-left Labour MPs (Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper) in order to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union (EU), Mr Davey admitted that he had not actually discussed the plan with either MP.

"I actually haven't spoken to them about it," he said when asked what Mr Benn and Ms Cooper thought about his proposals.

"I want to air it and get it out there early on," Mr Davey added.