In an increasingly celebrity-obsessed society, political parties are desperate for big-name backers. Here we take a look at some famous faces who’ve pledged their support to the Labour Party.
Doctor Who actor David Tennant has recorded party political broadcasts for Labour’s 2005, 2010 and 2015 general election campaigns. Ex-Prime Minister and former party leader Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah were guests at the Broadchurch star’s wedding celebrations.
The five-time snooker world champion declared his support for Labour in the 2015 General Election campaign, appearing in a video playing pool alongside Ed Miliband.
Comedian Steve Coogan filmed a similar video in support of Labour. The man behind Alan Partridge said: “The Labour Party gave this country the National Health Service. It gave us the minimum wage because Labour believes in helping all the people, not just the privileged few.”
Star of Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, Robert Webb (left) re-joined the party in 2013. He listed opening Sure Start centres, introducing and raising the minimum wage, making museums free and guaranteeing nursery places among the Labour policies that “changed the real lives of millions of real people for the better”.
After a long and uneasy relationship with the democratic process, comedian turned activist Russell Brand reversed his stance of telling people not to vote by publicly endorsing Labour. “We have no choice but to take decisive action to end the danger of the Conservative Party. David Cameron might think I’m a joke but I don’t think there’s anything funny about what the Conservative Party have been doing to this country and we have to stop them,” he said.
Rapper Tinie Tempah is good friends with Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna and told ITN he’d be voting for the party at the next general election.
Star of The Office, Sherlock and The Hobbit, Martin Freeman, recorded a party election broadcast for Labour in 2015. “Labour, they start from the right place; community, compassion, fairness,” he said.
Physicist Stephen Hawking pledged his support to Labour’s candidate for Cambridge in 2015. Mr Hawking, who is the subject of the recent Oscar-winning film The Theory Of Everything, has been vocal about the NHS in recent years, saying in 2013: “We must retain this critical public service, and prevent the establishment of a two-tier system, with the best medicine for the wealthy, and an inferior service for the rest.”
— CambridgeYoungLabour (@camyounglabour) April 23, 2015
Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard is an avid Labour Party supporter and campaigner and says he intends to stand for election either as an MP or to be the mayor of London in 2020. He’s known within the party to be strongly pro-European and is in favour of Britain becoming a republic.
Star of the Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe, switched his allegiance to Labour after voting for the Liberal Democrats in 2010. Speaking of the party’s leader Ed Miliband, he told Attitude magazine: “I really like him and he speaks for what I believe in. I think he’s genuine, genuinely left-wing, and will act as such if he gets in.”
Former Coronation star actress Sally Lindsay spoke at a Labour event in April 2015. The actress, who played barmaid Shelley Unwin in the ITV1 soap, told an audience of party activists “it makes me sick” that people were having to use food banks because they couldn’t afford to eat and supported Labour’s pledge to ban zero hours contracts. “That’s why I’m voting Labour. That’s why I support Ed,” she said.
JK Rowling donated £1 million to the party in 2008. The author, who was a penniless single parent before finding fame and fortune with her Harry Potter novels, has been highly critical of the Conservative Party’s approach to benefits. “I find the language of ‘skivers versus strivers’ particularly offensive when it comes to single parents, who are already working around the clock to care for their children,” she wrote in 2013.
Countdown host Nick Hewer describes himself as a “persistent Labour voter”. He admits he’s not inspired by the Opposition’s current leadership but says he looks forward to “seeing Ed Miliband drag the party, kicking and screaming, back into government”.
Jonathan Creek actor Alan Davies has voted Labour all his life. “Social injustice is important to me,” he says. “Life isn’t about every man for himself. Life should be about co-operation and collaboration.”
Stand-up comedian and Room 101 host Frank Skinner says he’s always voted Labour since former Prime Minister, James Callaghan, waved at him outside 10 Downing Street. “I think people who are well off should help people who aren’t,” he told the Daily Express, adding: “I don’t want a return to that ruthless Thatcherite look-after-yourself type.”
Celebrity chef Delia Smith gave her backing to the party in the 2015 General Election campaign, saying she is “very passionate about the Labour Party”. She said losing the NHS would be “unthinkable”.
Coronation Street actor David Neilson campaigned for the Labour Party candidate in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election in 2011. The actor, who plays Roy Cropper in the ITV1 soap, told the Mirror: “I’m angry because the people who can least afford it are being forced to suffer. They are going to suffer from the cuts and from the loss of public sector jobs. It’s purely a moral choice. What the Lib Dems and Conservatives are doing is unfair.”
Blackadder star Tony Robinson was once a member of Labour’s national executive – the governing body of the party that oversees its direction and policy-making process. Speaking about the financial crisis, he said: “I have no respect for British bankers and the British banking system at all. They’ve dragged us into that situation, it’s about time they started getting us out of it.”
Emmerdale actor John Middleton has said he wouldn’t rule out standing as an MP for Labour in the future. He joined the party in 1982 and has added star power to some of its by-election campaigns in recent years.
QI host Stephen Fry grew up as a Tory but says Margaret Thatcher pushed him in the direction of Labour. He joined the party and went on to write speeches for former leaders Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The Blackadder actor drifted away from the party after disagreeing with its position on Iraq but is now back speaking at Labour fundraising events.
Singer Paloma Faith told the Mirror in 2013: “I vote Labour and can’t begin to acknowledge anything good that comes from a Tory.” She added: “Because I’m a socialist, I think it’s disgusting when Madonna and co set ticket prices at £300.”
Lily Allen launched a stinging attack on the coalition Government with her online demo track I Was Born In The 80s. The song asks David Cameron: “You’re supposed to be our protector – what about the whole public sector?” Lily is a passionate supporter of the Labour Party. She backed Ed Miliband in his successful party leadership bid and posted a ‘liliband’ selfie of herself with the Labour leader on Instagram.
The Gavin And Stacey star told a Labour rally in 2015: “I feel Ed has kept our party united and motivated as we head towards the big choice on May 7.”
Lifelong Labour supporter, Jo Brand, was a psychiatric nurse for 10 years before moving into stand-up comedy. Speaking about the possibility of the Conservative Party getting re-elected in 2015, she said: “Let’s be honest about it, if they get back in, the NHS as we know it wouldn’t survive the next five years. Why? Because they’re planning even more extreme cuts.”
Coronation Street actress, Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in the soap for 34 years, is always keen to support Labour. Speaking ahead of the general election in 2010, she said: “I’ve got four children and six grandchildren, and I’ve seen how things have improved under Labour. There’s better schools, they’ve improved the NHS, tax credits, pension credits – that’s why I’ll be voting Labour.”
One Foot In The Grave and Merlin actor Richard Wilson is a long-time Labour supporter. He recorded the audio version of the party’s manifesto for the 2010 general election.
Royle Family star Sue Johnston was a high-profile campaigner for Labour during its last period of opposition. She said she was “thrilled” when the party got back into power in 1997 after 18 years of Conservative government.
Former Girls Aloud star and X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is a staunch Labour supporter. In an interview with Q magazine she described David Cameron as “slippery” and said: “We’ve always been Labour in our family, it just feels wrong not to be.”
TV presenter Paul O’Grady announced himself as a Labour supporter on The One Show in January last year and criticised Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith over his stance on benefits. When asked how he would cut the benefits bill, he said: “Create more jobs and raise the basic wage. You’ll get people saying ‘why should I come off benefits to do that job and lose an extra £30-a-week and work myself to death 11 hours a day for it?’ So raise the basic wage.”
Star of The Apprentice, Lord Sugar, is a Labour peer in the House of Lords. Speaking to radio station LBC in October 2014, he said the party’s former leader, Gordon Brown, unfairly got the blame for the 2008 financial collapse. “He took over from Blair in 2008 or 2007 when the real problems broke and he got the blame, as far as England is concerned,” he said. “It’s absolutely wrong. It wasn’t his fault.”
Comedian Ben Elton reaffirmed his support for the Labour Party at an event in the run up to the 2015 General Election. He took a swipe at fellow celeb Myleene Klass who criticised Labour’s proposed mansion tax. He said: “I made my money cracking knob gags, she made her money showering in a bikini. We should both be proud to make our contribution.”
Actor Robson Green said he’d be voting for Labour in the 2015 General Election. “They believe in something I’m passionate about which is education, the National Health Service, defence and all those other important things that we should invest in people,” he said.