Former MP Lembit Opik becomes the face of 'Britain’s first satirical pro-Iranian politics show'
Lembit Opik, the former Liberal Democrat MP, has found a new role fronting what is billed as “Britain’s first satirical pro-Iranian politics show” despite campaigning against persecution in the country when he was in Parliament.
The opening 25-minute show, which has clocked up more than 800 hits on Facebook, has been produced by a television company called London Broadcasting Partners, or LBP TV, launched last August from a studio in Ealing, in west London.
The show includes a sketch in which Mr Opik meets a furious man out in the streets who blames all his misfortunes on Iran, including the fact that he cannot remember where he parked his car.
Mr Opik’s co-presenter, who is also the show’s producer and scriptwriter, is Luke Mason, the personal assistant of the Respect MP, George Galloway.
LBP TV is based in the building formerly used by the Iranian-backed TV station Press TV. Ofcom revoked its licence in January 2012 when it failed to pay a £100,000 fine imposed for broadcasting an interview with the imprisoned Channel 4 journalist, Maziar Bahari, which the regulator said had been made under duress. Mr Galloway has declared payments totalling £16,500 from Press TV in the nine months to January 2014 for fronting a TV news show.
During Mr Opik’s 13 years as Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire, he chaired the All Parliamentary Group set up to defend members of the Baha’i faith, who are persecuted in Iran. In 2009, he told the BBC that people in Iran were being “detained, persecuted and actually executed on the basis of prejudice”.
He began hosting a show for Press TV a few weeks after losing his seat in 2010. Numerous others attempts to keep himself in the public eye have met with limited success. He took up wrestling, but had to be stretchered out of the ring after a short and painful encounter with a wrestler named Kade Callous.
His appearance on I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here, in November 2010 was also brief. He was the second contestant voted off the show – though not before he had been bitten by a snake. Last August, he was judging a charity show in aid of guide dogs when a dachshund bit him in the groin.
As an MP, he achieved fame by becoming engaged to the 25-year-old Transylvanian pop singer Gabriela Irimia, one of the Cheeky Girls, but they split up in 2008. He later formed a relationship with a student, Merily McGivern, 24 years his junior, but last year that relationship had reportedly ended.
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