Lampard? Paxman? Strauss? Rise of the Celebri-tories

Are the Conservatives bolstering the number of celebrities in the party?

The general election is looming and it’s time to look popular.

Labour may be doing alright in the polls, but in the world of showbiz the Tories are outgunning the opposition by a considerable margin.

Former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman has admitted that the Conservative party has approached him on two occasions recently with a view to getting him to stand for the party.

Firstly, David Cameron came knocking to ask whether he’d be interested in seeking a nomination to become a Tory candidate for London Mayor at the mayoral elections next year, and then, Paxo was asked whether he’d stand as an MP at the safe Kensington & Chelsea seat occupied by disgraced politician Malcolm Rifkind.

“Get out of here”

But Paxman isn’t playing ball. Speaking at a conference he said “I was tapped up about it, yes.” And to Ad Week Europe, he said: “I can’t be responsible if somebody comes to you with a suggestion. I would suggest you are sufficiently well-mannered to say, that’s awfully nice of you. I will have a think about it and get back to you. That was a mistake; I should have said get out of here.”

Paxman clegg

Speaking of playing ball, there are a couple of Premier League stars who perhaps wouldn’t mind being in Paxman’s position.

Former Arsenal winger Sol Campbell initially refused to rule out a bid to stand at the Kensington seat, but then later announced he was not going to stand. However, this month he was spotted leaving a meeting with Tory party chairman Grant Schapps, fuelling rumours that a mayoral bid might be in the offing.

Campbell’s interest could equal a north London Derby if former Chelsea star Frank Lampard follows through with his plans to get involved politically. Earlier this month his spokespeople denied that the Tories had approached him with an offer to take on the Kensington seat.

Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell - Mayor of London?

Others who didn’t rule themselves out of running for Kensington as quickly as they might have done include television historian Dan Snow, and television presenter Kirsty Allsopp. Perhaps we could see them popping up elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Olympic rower James Cracknell is looking for a seat, having had a near miss at Bexhill and Battle at the last election, and there are even rumours that former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss could be on the Tory’s list to head up an electoral bid.

Labour list?

Labour is not averse to attempting to get the celebs on-side either. Blair famously wooed a cadre of pop stars ahead of his landslide 1997 election victory. But Labour’s list of famous people who could actually take office is nowhere near as extensive as the Tories’.

Eddie Izzard has been pondering a mayoral bid for sometime, and the support of entrepreneur Alan Sugar has already been rewarded with a peerage.

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