Kilroy tells Esther Rantzen not to run for Parliament
PUBLISHED: 14:04 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 07 September 2010
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Tan Parsons ESTHER Rantzen was told not to run for Parliament by Robert Kilroy-Silk, she revealed at the Heath And Hampstead Society s annual general meeting on Tuesday night (June 23). In the wake of the MPs expenses scandal Hampstead resident Ms Rantze
ESTHER Rantzen was told not to run for Parliament by Robert Kilroy-Silk, she revealed at the Heath And Hampstead Society's annual general meeting on Tuesday night (June 23).
In the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal Hampstead resident Ms Rantzen, 69, has decided to run as an independent candidate in Luton South.
The journalist and broadcaster, best known for founding ChildLine, shared time in the Australian jungle with Mr Kilroy-Silk when they appeared in the television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.
Ms Rantzen said: "He told me, 'Don't do it. You will be humiliated and it will be very painful'. He said that in general elections people vote with their tribe."
Mr Kilroy-Silk, who is an independent MEP, is well placed to offer his celebrity counterpart a word or two of advice, having first-hand experience of both television presenting and being an MP.
But Ms Rantzen is clearly undaunted by Mr Kilroy-Silk's warning and told society members gathered at St Stephen's Church how her decision was based on a single moment of red-eyed fury.
Incumbent Luton South MP Margaret Moran was embroiled in the MPs' expenses scandal when it was revealed she had spent £22,500 of taxpayers' money treating dry rot at her seaside home 100 miles away.
"You may say to me, 'So why Luton South?" said Ms Rantzen. "When I read Margaret Moran had charged £22,000 [sic] to you and me to eradicate dry rot, my eye balls turned red with rage. And you know you should never do anything based on losing your temper."
She voiced her feelings in an article for a Sunday newspaper and for the next few days her phone rang off the hook with people asking her to seriously consider standing for the constituency.
Before she knew it, ITN had whisked her off to Luton to see the town at first hand - visiting sixth form centres, mosques and factories.
She revealed she hopes to transform the reputation of the embattled town from one of downtrodden to uplifting - even suggesting that it would be the perfect location for "Disney London".
The stark contrast between Hampstead and Luton emerged as a source of inspiration for her plan to transform the Bedfordshire town - which she hopes to do by drawing on her professional contacts.
Earlier in the meeting, Martin Humphery, who chaired proceedings for the Heath And Hampstead Society, spoke about the continuing struggle with legislation governing basement excavations and the danger posed by altering the flow of underground streams by digging. It was also sadly announced that society member Michael Bench had died after suffering a heart attack on June 18. He was an architect and worked in Whitehall as a civil servant in charge of medical and school buildings, and was formerly chairman of the Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee and founder of the Friends Of Hampstead Town Hall.
Helen Marcus, vice president of the Heath And Hampstead Society, said: "We will all miss his wonderful dry humorous approach to everything. He was such a lovely man and we are all quite devastated.