Whether they’re swapping Westminster for the jungle or the House of Commons for the diary room, it seems some politicians are always after your vote. Here’s a list of 14 of them who’ve dabbled in the world of reality TV.
Edwina Currie used to be famous for having an affair with ex-Prime Minister John Major and causing a health scare in 1988 when she claimed that British eggs contained salmonella. These days the former Conservative minister has become known for touring the celebrity TV circuit, appearing on Hell’s Kitchen in 2006, Strictly Come Dancing in 2011 and most recently I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.
Whatever you think of his politics, or the man himself, it’s difficult not to admire George Galloway’s steely resolve as he defended himself in the US senate in 2005 against charges that he profited from Iraqi oil sales. Fast-forward a year and the Respect Party leader cut a very different figure in cringeworthy scenes from Celebrity Big Brother as he got down on all fours and licked imaginary milk out of actress Rula Lenska’s lap.
Former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe was the novelty act on Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, making it all the way to week nine of the contest. Judge Craig Revel Horwood remarked that her dancing was “all a bit local authority” while head judge Len Goodman, alluding to her political stance, said: “Last week you got swung to the right, but you’ve got to realise in ballroom you’ve got to lean to the left.”
Business Secretary and keen ballroom dancing fan Vince Cable received the perfect Christmas gift when he appeared on the festive edition of Strictly Come Dancing in 2010. The coalition minister impressed the judges with his foxtrot but was ultimately beaten to top spot on the leaderboard by Doctor Who and Torchwood actor John Barrowman.
Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik threw himself into reality television after losing his seat in the 2010 general election. The ex-MP for Montgomeryshire followed in the footsteps of his former girlfriend and weather presenter Sian Lloyd by appearing in I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.
Before Jeremy Kyle, Robert Kilroy-Silk was the king of daytime TV until he was sacked by the BBC in 2004 for a newspaper article he wrote in which he referred to Arabs as “limb amputators”. Soon after, he joined Ukip and was elected to the European Parliament before severing all ties with the party less than a year later. His last foray into the public eye was as a contestant on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here in 2012.
Former Labour MP Oona King was the third contestant to be voted off Dancing On Ice in 2013. Baroness King now sits as a Labour peer in the House of Lords.
Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt attracted criticism when it was announced she would be appearing on the celebrity diving contest Splash! But she defended her appearance on the show describing it as “a great personal development experience” and said she would donate her fee to the Hilsea Lido in her Portsmouth constituency, which was being renovated by the local community.
Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy took part in Channel 4’s celebrity sporting contest, The Games, in 2006. The ex-Falmouth and Camborne MP is no stranger to sport – she was chairwoman of the all-party rowing group during her time in Parliament. She finished second overall and raised £20,000 for the Cornish Air Ambulance.
Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at London’s Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick was the UK’s most senior openly gay police officer. He was the Liberal Democrats’ candidate to be mayor of London in 2008 and 2012. He was the sixth person to be voted off I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here in 2008.
The wife of House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, caused a stir in 2011 when she entered the Celebrity Big Brother house. Ms Bercow is a vocal Labour supporter and has spoken of her desire to represent the party in Parliament. This is despite the fact her husband is a Conservative.
After leaving Parliament in 2010, former Conservative MP Derek Conway joined Blue singer Antony Costa, astrologer Russell Grant, newsreader Jan Leeming and 80s movie star Emma Ridley on Channel 4’s Celebrity Five Go To Turkey.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries temporarily lost the party whip as punishment for appearing on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here. She defended her appearance on the show, however, saying: “In the jungle, people finally saw a Tory MP who could relate to them. I would do it all again.
Derek Hatton was the controversial deputy leader of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s and was expelled from the Labour Party in 1986. He appeared on a special political episode of Celebrity Come Dine With Me in 2010 alongside Edwina Currie and Brian Paddick.