Swampy joins political race

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The Independent Online
The prospect of Swampy the prospective parliamentary candidate arose yesterday as the anti-roads campaigner launched his own 10-point political manifesto at the site of the proposed second runway for Manchester airport.

In an opening stunt unlikely to be repeated by other aspiring politicians, Swampy emerged from a hole 50ft up a cliff and abseiled to the ground to explain his philosophy to reporters, photographers and supporters.

Swampy, whose real name is Daniel Hooper, then announced that he would be calling his party Never Mind The Ballots, and would be standing at the general election against Graham Stringer, the Labour party candidate for Manchester Blackley and chairman of Manchester Airport plc.

Wearing a green rosette, and standing at the entrance to a tunnel under the runway site, Swampy said he would put the environment first: "My message to Mr Stringer is stand down, you don't stand a chance. I aim to be Prime Minister one day."

It was a dramatic intervention by Britain's most famous eco-warrior. "Nobody should underestimate the level of support he has," one of his followers said as other tunnellers shouted: "Vote for Swampy - he's the man for the job."

The protesters have already managed to delay by two weeks a High Court action to remove them from the site. Buoyed up by success, Swampy now says he wants to put up candidates across the country.

His "Don't Fly, Don't Drive" manifesto includes policies to stop internal flights, introduce targets for traffic reduction, stop airport expansion, tax parking and increase rail freight.

Although the date of the announcement is significant, according to Andrew Wood, a spokesman for the protesters, nomination papers have been obtained and could be submitted if money was found to put down a deposit.

"What I would like to appeal for is help with the pounds 500 deposit to enable me to run as parliamentary candidate and to any fat-walleted sympathiser I promise to give my upmost best in my election campaign," Swampy said.