Simply Red star's pounds 50,000 vote

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The Independent Online
The Labour leader, Tony Blair, will be busy adding the pop group Simply Red to his list of favourite bands after their lead singer, Mick Hucknall, donated pounds 50,000 to Labour's election funds. The multi-millionaire, Mancunian songwriter said he had given the money "because of my belief that our society will benefit from New Labour".

Despite owning houses in Milan, New York and London, Hucknall has stayed true to his more humble roots in Stretford, Manchester, where he has a small house close to his beloved Manchester United's ground at Old Trafford.

He has made no secret of his backing for New Labour and has appeared at a number of high-profile events since Tony Blair became leader, to demonstrate his support.

The singer met Mr Blair again last week, when he paid a visit to the London studio where the next Simply Red album was being recorded, to thank him for the contribution. During the meeting, the singer asked Blair about his election strategy in an interview that Labour are hoping to use during the campaign.