Van Day 'may stand as MP' after expense row

Ellen Branagh,Pa
Monday 25 May 2009 12:04 BST

Former pop singer and reality TV star David Van Day announced today he is 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.

She also told a BBC Radio Four interview the Telegraph had launched "McCarthy-ite witch hunts" against MPs and suggested many of them were "beginning to crack" in the wake of the scandal.

Today Mr Van Day said his idea to stand was born from Ms Dorries' "ridiculous" comments.

He plans to visit her constituency under the banner of his own "No Expenses Party" to find out if residents will be receptive to him standing.

His announcement follows fellow I'm A Celebrity contestant and broadcaster Esther Rantzen's news last week that she is considering standing as MP for nearby Luton South.

The move would see her take on Margaret Moran, who was revealed as having claimed £22,500 for treating dry rot at her home in Southampton, 100 miles from her constituency.

Last week Ms Rantzen said she was "80 per cent on" to stand in the elections, but wanted to consult with friends and family.

Mr Van Day, who appeared in the right series of the reality TV show with the TV presenter, today said: "If Esther is 80 per cent on, I would say I am 85 per cent."

The former popstar was unsuccessful in a bid to stand as Conservative candidate for Brighton & Hove city council in 2007.

But he said the idea to re-enter the political fray came after he visited Luton last week to launch a fundraising partnership between the Alzheimer's Society and budget airline easyJet.

He said: "Because Esther had thrown her hat in the ring over in Luton South, a lot of people were interested in my opinion about it and somebody even asked me would I stand. Then there was this ridiculous statement that came out from Nadine Dorries that it was a witchhunt.

"I thought, 'well, you know what, I think somebody needs to go down to mid-Bedfordshire and ask the constituents if it's time for a change'. Although lots of these things were in the rules, it's whether they were in the morality rules. The MPs have pushed their luck, and they are apologising now because they got caught.

"If I was to stand I would try and do it under the banner of a "No Expenses" party.

I would put something forward that is clear as daylight to people - 'If I was to represent you I would not charge you anything, I wouldn't take any of your money'. Almost a 'No Expenses Party'.

"Later this week I will visit mid-Bedfordshire with my 'No Expenses Party' and see what they say about me standing."

Mr Van Day said he had made mistakes in his popstar past - he was reported as blowing £100,000 on cocaine and cheating on his lover Thereza Bazar - but said that made him a better person.

He said: "I am no Mother Theresa but all my stuff is out there, it's not hidden like the expenses claims were hidden from the general public. I will let the people judge for themselves.

"We're talking about things that happened 20-odd years ago and I was in a rock and roll lifestyle. It's well in the past. I have a bit of a mucky past but all that has made me a better person - I have been tested and I failed sometimes, but I have been tested and it has made me a better person."

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