Politics: Actor set for debut on political stage

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THE former EastEnders' soap star Michael Cashman is turning his back on the luvvies for Labour. The actor, presumably tired of the jostling of egos in his first profession, has decided to become a full-time politician.

Mr Cashman has made dual applications to become a Euro-MP and to sit on Labour's National Executive Committee. If he wins both he is likely to have to give up the NEC seat because it is reserved for ordinary members.

Rumours that his candidacy had been backed by the Labour leadership have been denied. Officials at Millbank Tower, the party's headquarters, said there would be no official slate in the NEC election.

Bizarrely, neither of Mr Cashman's applications mention his most valuable asset - his long-term tenure of a flat in Albert Square.

His nomination paper for a place on the London candidates' list for next year's Euro-elections discloses that he joined Labour in 1976 and that he set up a "celebrity unit" which dispatched well-known figures to key seats during the 1997 election campaign.

Under "other life experience" he describes himself as "trade unionist and deputy (shop steward) since 1967. Elected council member of Equity 1994-98". Mr Cashman also lists a number of television and radio appearances, including BBC2's Newsnight.

"The reason I joined this party ... remains the same: we can make Britain and the world a better place ...That is why I want to represent you. But we must be realistic ... Wild promises count for nothing," he wrote.