Belfast Telegraph

Campaigning Murray blazes a trail

Comedian and budding MP Al Murray turned up to hand in his general election nomination papers - in a fire engine converted into a pub.

Murray, in his guise as the Pub Landlord, pulled frothy pints from beer taps on the side of the old fire engine outside Thanet District Council's offices in Margate, Kent.

The 46-year-old comic posed for pictures beside the former emergency vehicle, which was emblazoned with the slogan Vote Guv For Guv'norment.

Murray then went inside to hand over papers so he can stand for his Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP) against Ukip leader Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

Afterwards, Murray said: "This is the most important general election since the last one. There is a state of national emergency. I wanted to emphasise that with a fire engine - a fire engine that pours beer."

A crowd of locals gathered to watch the spectacle, including 80-year-old retired seafarer Malcolm Llewellyn, who was amused by Murray's presence.

He said: "This is a bit of light-heartedness. It's the same old people trying to outdo one another and making promises that hardly ever get kept."

Oxford-educated Murray has launched an action plan under the guise of his patriotic character in his bid to reach Parliament.

He has included a pledge that the UK will leave Europe by 2025 "and the edge of the Solar System by 2050". He also vows to end "ninny state" health and safety.

And he has ideas on law and order, with a promise to tackle crime by locking up all unemployed people.

On the hot topic of immigration, he plans to stop people reaching the shores of "the greatest country in the world" by bricking up the Channel Tunnel - with British bricks and using Polish labour.

In a further bid to win over wavering voters, he has promised to introduce "1p a pint", although "crisps will remain at the current price".

A website has been set up for his campaign, carrying the slogan: "Other parties offer the moon on a stick. We'll do better than that: a British moon on a British stick."

In his trademark burgundy-coloured blazer, Murray said: "We've got all these politicians who make a load of promises and then don't keep them. I'm honest that I won't keep them in the first place."

Murray's election campaign has had its hiccups.

Last month, he hoped to parachute 12,000ft into Kent following a jibe by Mr Farage that he had been parachuted in to fight the South Thanet seat.

But when Murray arrived at Headcorn Aerodrome near Ashford, he learned that he was too heavy to jump - and the stunt had to be axed.

Murray is standing in a constituency which the Conservative Party won from Labour at the previous election in 2010.

It is already the focus of huge attention due to Mr Farage's decision to stand there as Ukip experiences a surge in support.

He has vowed to quit as Ukip leader if he fails to win South Thanet

Ukip has welcomed the intervention of The Pub Landlord, with a spokesman for the Eurosceptics saying: "At last, serious competition in the constituency." And Mr Farage has said: "The more, the merrier."

South Thanet, which includes the coastal towns of Ramsgate, Sandwich and Broadstairs, has previously enjoyed a reputation as an electoral bellwether - held at every election since 1983 by the party that has formed the government of the day.


From Belfast Telegraph