I will stand if Moran does, confirms Rantzen

Broadcaster Esther Rantzen today confirmed she would stand for election in Luton if the current MP stood again.

Ms Rantzen previously said she was considering standing after it was disclosed Labour MP Margaret Moran claimed £22,500 for treating dry rot at her home in Southampton, 100 miles from her constituency.

Today the I'm a Celebrity... and That's Life star, 68, confirmed she would definitely stand if Ms Moran stood again.

The MP has been referred to the special NEC endorsements panel for urgent consideration about whether to remove her endorsement as a Labour Party candidate.

Today Mahmood Hussain, chairman of Luton South Labour Party, said they were waiting for a decision from the NEC regarding Ms Moran's future before they issued a statement.

Ms Rantzen said: "I am absolutely shocked by an opaque process where nobody, nobody in Westminster, nobody in Luton South knows what's happening with Margaret Moran and I think that's a symptom of what is wrong with our current attitude.

"I think certainly the people in Luton South deserve to know, knowing how she claims her allowances, what the Labour Party intends to do.

"So I can't tell you at this moment whether or not she will be deselected, but if she stands, I will stand."

Ms Rantzen said even if Ms Moran did not stand, she may still consider standing for election, "to give the voters in Luton South a choice".

"I think that they deserve the opportunity of voting for someone like me who has no other motive than to represent them and represent them better than they have been represented since 1997," she said.

"If she does not stand or is deselected then we will have to see how she is replaced."

The broadcaster said she was impressed by the "galvanising" effect the expenses scandal was having on the main political parties and praised David Cameron for "throwing the windows and doors open".

But Ms Rantzen's idea to stand last week raised concerns among potential rivals in Luton.

Nigel Huddleston, Conservative Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Luton South, said if the TV presenter stood it could split the anti-Moran vote and risk Labour winning again.

Speaking last week he invited Ms Rantzen to support his own campaign as an "anti-sleaze candidate".

Yesterday former pop singer and fellow I'm a Celebrity... star David Van Day announced he too was considering standing as an MP in the wake of the recent expenses scandal.

The 52-year-old former member of 80s' pop duo Dollar may put himself forward as a candidate against Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries.

The Tory MP is said to have claimed for a New Year's Eve hotel room and a second home allowance while only having one home.

She also got taxpayers to foot the bill for a lost £2,190 deposit on a rented flat, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Ms Dorries denied the allegations about the hotel room and the second home, but admitted the lost deposit claim.

Mr Van Day said his idea to stand was prompted by "ridiculous" comments Ms Dorries made in a BBC Radio Four interview in which she accused the Telegraph of launching "McCarthy-ite witch hunts" against MPs.

Mr Van Day plans to visit mid-Bedfordshire this week under the banner of his own "No Expenses Party" to find out if residents would be receptive to him standing.

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