Esther Rantzen may run for MP

Television host and journalist Esther Rantzen said she could challenge Labour MP Margaret Moran at the next election because she was fed up with the expenses scandal roiling British politics.

Rantzen, who hosted the popular television show That's Life! for over 20 years, told the BBC she was considering running as an independent in Luton South against Moran, who claimed 22,500 pounds for dry rot repairs, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"What made me so cross was this particular claim, because I too have a home near Southampton, and it too has suffered from dry rot," she said in an interview on Monday.

"I paid for my dry rot, and I just couldn't believe that an MP in her right mind could make that claim."

Moran - who initially defended the claim for the second home in Southampton, nearly 80 miles from her constituency in Luton north of London - has since paid back the sum.

The fallout from the expense claims being revealed by the Telegraph has already hobbled the political careers of Labour Justice Minister Shahid Malik and senior Conservative MP Andrew Mackay. Other MPs have apologised and repaid their claims.

Rantzen, lashing out against the culture of "tribalism" in parliament, said it was time for an independent to follow in the footsteps of Martin Bell, a former journalist who in 1997 took the seat of a Conservative MP involved in a sleaze scandal.

Rantzen said her decision to run was "up to the people of Luton South" and she would wait for their approval before announcing formally that she was a candidate.