From showbiz to SW1: The celebrities running to become your MP this general election

From sport, to music and TV shows - some of this election's hopefuls are already used to the public glare. Credit: PA/Channel 4

By Westminster Producer Elisa Menendez

A musician who's headlined Wembley, a double Olympic gold medallist and a man who became famous on TV because the nation liked watching him... watch TV, are just some of the celebrities standing in this week's General Election.

With just days to go before the British public heads to the polls, the stakes are rising for parliamentary candidates hoping to become MPs on Friday - some of whom already know a thing or two about being in the public eye.

Celebrities are no strangers to using their platform to raise awareness of socio-political issues and this election has been no different, with the likes of Presenter Carol Vorderman campaigning to oust the Tories and The Undertones' frontman Feargal Sharkey lobbying to protect England's sewage-ridden waters.

A child actor who starred in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is reportedly a Tory advisor and Clean Bandit's former violinist is reportedly working for Labour's Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

But some have gone a step further throwing their hat in the ring in the hope of winning that all important seat in the Houses of Parliament - with actor and pop star Holly Valance even rumoured to be in the running at one point.

Which celebrities are standing as candidates this week?

Dave Rowntree

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree (far right) is hoping to become a Labour MP. Credit: PA

Having spent the 90s battling Oasis to reach number one in the music charts, Blur's drummer Dave Rowntree has a very different race to the top on his hands.

Rowntree, who headlined two nights at Wembley stadium with Blur just last summer, is standing as a Labour candidate this one.

The multi-award winning Britpop band, made up of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bass player Alex James and Rowntree, has enjoyed dizzying fame since the early 90s with albums such as Parklife and The Great Escape.

Rowntree writes on his campaign page that his life has had "its share of highs and lows".

"I headlined Wembley Stadium with Blur in 2023, but in the 1980s I was homeless and hopeless," he writes. "The experience stayed with me and kept me grounded through my later success.

"Now my passion is working in the community, bringing people together and solving problems. 14 years of Conservative government has left the UK in a desperate state."

It's not his first brush with politics. In 2007 and 2008 Rowntree ran for Westminster council seats and lost, before running as a Labour parliamentary candidate the following year. He was elected to become a councillor for Norfolk County Council in 2017.

James Cracknell

(L to R) Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent celebrate after winning Gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Credit: PA

Double Olympic gold medal winner James Cracknell is vying to become a Tory MP.

The Team GB rower, who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, made headlines last week for speaking out against the Tory General Election betting scandal, calling his own party a "shower of s***".

A winner of six world championship titles, Cracknell was appointed OBE for "services to sport" in the 2005 New Year Honours List, before suffering a life-altering cycling accident when he was hit by a petrol tanker in 2010.

The road accident almost killed him. He ended up in a coma and was treated in hospital for two months with traumatic brain injuries and a fractured skull. After a long recovery, his "desire to serve the public through politics was cemented" - switching from appearing on TV adventure documentaries to working on public health policy reports on poverty, obesity, and physical activity.

His campaign page says he wanted to become an MP to "encourage people to back themselves" after proving many wrong who said his recovery from the accident would be limited.

Cracknell told ITV News when he spoke with his beloved coach about his ambition of becoming an MP, his answer was: "Why do that, at the moment you are a guy who was good at sport, now everyone will hate you?"

Speaking about his desire to get into politics, Cracknell continued: "When I competed it didn't matter what people thought of us - we were in control of the result. Politics is the opposite... It is rewarding, humbling, frustrating and nerve wracking.

"Knocking on someone's door to talk about politics takes some getting used to, for the first couple of months I used to hope they were out so I could leave a leaflet."

Josh Tapper

The former Gogglebox star first appeared on the silver screen when he was 15. Credit: Channel 4

Channel 4's Gogglebox star Josh Tapper has a fight on his hands, running against none other than Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden as a Labour candidate.

Tapper, who was 15 when he started filming, appeared on the hit show with father Jonathan, mother Nikki and sister Amy between 2013 and 2018.

Since leaving the series, Tapper says he's worked for the civil service and volunteered for cancer care charities and food banks, as well as becoming a trustee for a homeless charity.

"Some might recognise me from Channel 4’s Gogglebox – but since then, I've leveraged my platform to advocate for social policy reform and hold the Tory government accountable on national TV and radio," he writes on his campaign page.

"I'm committed to doing politics differently, raising standards in public life, and showing people that we can have something fundamentally better."

Tapper stood as a Labour candidate in the 2022 local council elections but missed out on representing Edgewarebury, north London.

Tom Gray

Tom Gray (second in from right) is one-fifth of band Gomez and is hoping to become a Labour MP. Credit: PA

Another rock star swapping festivals for the political stage is Gomez's Tom Gray, standing as a Labour candidate.

One-fifth of the Merseyside-born Mercury Prize-winning band, alongside Ben Ottewell, Paul Blackburn, Olly Peacock and Ian Ball, Gray has been heavily involved in activism and campaigning in his industry.

Gray has been lobbying the government since 2020 to regulate music streaming with the #BrokenRecord campaign, garnering support from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Kate Bush.

In a campaign video shared to his social media, Gray says: "During Covid, when creatives and musicians were some of the worst hit by lockdown, I led a campaign to get artists a better deal for their work. "We raised funds to tide people over and successfully freed thousands of artists from historic, unfair debt... Whether it's musicians and creatives, or nurses and teachers, I will fight to do the same for you every day."

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Marc Jenkins

Olympic triathlete Marc Jenkins (centre) is running to be a Tory MP. Credit: Facebook/Marc Jenkins

Fellow Olympian Marc Jenkins is also trying his chances at Parliament for the Tories.

The Olympian finished last in the Athens 2004 men’s triathlon – but only after he hooked his bike over his right shoulder for 2km and ran for help after a crash.

According to reports at the time, he carried his bike nearly half a kilometre before he found the rescue station, where his bike was repaired.

Jenkins told ConservativeHome in May “I don’t consider myself a ‘politician’" and writes on his campaign page he's getting involved in politics "to make a difference not for a career".

"I'm not a traditional politician, I have not had a political focus until recently," he said. "I am standing as I want to give "normal" people a chance to vote for someone like them."

Robert Barrowcliffe AKA Rob Valentine

The pro wrestler is trying his luck outside of the ring. Credit: Facebook/Rob Valentine

Between the ropes he's known as Rob Valentine - but between the ballots he's Robert Barrowcliffe standing as a candidate for Reform UK.

The 25-year-old championship-winning wrestler's most well-known opponent this election will be Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner.

Barrowcliffe is understood to be taking a break from wrestling after falling ill with appendicitis but is keen to get back in the ring later this year - even if he is an MP by then.

"Part of me thinks being in politics is what I’m made for, another part is thinking, ‘I’d just like to go back to a completely normal life'," he told the Tameside Correspondent.

“But I do have one last match in me. I’ve got the gear and I’ll be able to get back in the gym and start eating right again, then I’ll be wrestling in October.

“I’m the champion. I’ve got to defend my title, it’s a matter of honour.”

His campaign page says he's currently an analyst at a local laboratory testing for ground and water contamination, "but most importantly, I’m a highly concerned member of the public that loves our home, loves the people who live here, and cares deeply for the direction that our great country is heading in, and wants to do something about it."

Other famous faces involved in politics:

Holly Valance

Valance and husband Nick Candy at a June Reform UK press conference where it was announced Nigel Farage was the new party leader. Credit: PA

It was briefly rumoured that actor and pop star Holly Valance, first famed in Britain for her 2002 hit 'Kiss Kiss', was standing as a Reform UK candidate.

The Australian-born Neighbours star may not be vying to become an MP but she is a key backer of Nigel Farage and his party, saying she had been "in his ear" in the early stages of the election campaign convincing him to stand.

“I have been whispering in his ear for a long time,” she told GB News after Farage announced his leadership, adding that if he asked her to help him campaign she "probably" would.

“He is the face of Reform... Hopefully now we will be stronger and we will see what we can do at this next election. I’m a paid up member.”

It was reported that Valance helped Reform UK raise £1.5 million within days of Farage's leadership takeover. According to The Guardian, donations were thought to include a "substantial cheque" from Valance. However, the Electoral Commission's register currently only lists one £25,000 donation in January - before Farage's leadership - from Philip Hulme.

Holly Valance kisses Donald Trump Jr. as he leaves a fundraiser she hosted for Donald Trump in London in June. Credit: PA

Valance, who starred in movies like 'Taken', and her property developer husband Nick Candy have become important figures on the right of UK and US politics.

In June, Valance and Candy hosted a fundraiser in London for Donald Trump's US presidential campaign, attended by the likes of Farage and Donald Trump Jr.

Skandar Keynes

Skandar Keynes played Edmund in The Chronicles of Narnia. Credit: Phil Bray/Disney Enterprises/Walden Media, LLC/IMDB

Most people will remember Skandar Keynes for playing Edmund Pevensie in the blockbuster movie series The Chronicles of Narnia as a child.

He's reportedly since swapped Narnia for Westminster as he's now said to be an advisor for a Tory MP.

Neil Amin-Smith

Neil Amin-Smith (far right) pictured with band Clean Bandit at the 2015 Brit Awards. Credit: PA

Former violinist for Clean Bandit, Neil Amin-Smith, is reportedly an advisor to Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

The musician - whose group is most famed for their Grammy Award-winning hit 'Rather Be' with Jess Glynne - has been working as an advisor to Reeves since 2022, according to his LinkedIn page.

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every day in the run-up to the election Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…