Blur drummer wants to be Norwich's next MP
PUBLISHED: 11:18 24 October 2011 | UPDATED: 17:44 25 October 2011
The drummer with chart-topping rock band Blur is hoping to become Norwich's next MP.
Musician Dave Rowntree is one of four candidates on Labour’s selection shortlist to decide who will battle to win the party back the Norwich South seat at the next general election.
The 47-year-old, whose hits with Britpop band Blur include Song 2, There’s No Other Way, Girls And Boys and Beetlebum, hopes to be picked as Labour’s candidate to challenge Liberal Democrat Simon Wright when the country next goes to the polls.
But if he is to get the chance to run for Norwich South, he first needs to convince local Labour members that he should be their choice. And he faces competition from current Norwich City councillor Victoria MacDonald, BBC television reporter Clive Lewis and Joe Goldberg, who ran against Prime Minister David Cameron in last year’s general election.
Mr Rowntree, who owns a cottage in Spixworth, has been increasing his profile in Norwich in recent months. He appeared as a speaker at the Norwich Sound and Vision Festival and helped with canvassing during the city council elections last autumn.
He has appeared at events such as the opening of the Grapes Hill Community Garden, the Magdalen Street Celebration and, at the weekend, he attended the Hardest Hit rally at Chapelfield Gardens, where disabled people protested against government cuts.
Mr Rowntree said he had “fallen in love” with Norwich, having spent so much time campaigning in the city.
He said: “Growing up in Colchester, there was a sense of community, which I really miss and I think we have that in Norwich. I felt really welcome in this beautiful place, with its wonderful history. My girlfriend and I have rented a small cottage in Spixworth and we’ve started coming up here every weekend. The more time I spend here, the more I fall in love with it.”
Mr Rowntree’s chart record, which includes five number one albums and 13 top 10 singles, currently far eclipses his political successes.
In April 2007 and July 2008 he was unsuccessful in his efforts to win seats on Westminster City Council and in last year’s general election he stood for the Cities of London and Westminster.
He garnered 8,188 votes, but finished in second place well behind Conservative Mark Field, who won 19,264 in a traditionally true blue seat.
Confirming his shortlisting on social networking site Twitter, Mr Rowntree said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be on the Norwich South shortlist in the esteemed company of @clivelewis01, @joedgoldberg, and @CllrVickyMD.”
Mrs MacDonald, who lives in Eaton, is a city councillor for Lakenham and is cabinet member for housing. The mother-of-two said she was “very proud” to have the chance to run for selection for Norwich South.
Mr Lewis, 40, is a television reporter for Look East and the BBC’s Politics Show. In 2009, he served a tour as a Territorial Army officer in Helmand province - a Lieutenant leading his platoon through some of the bloodiest fighting of the Afghan conflict.
He said on Twitter that he “is both honoured and excited to be short-listed for the Labour Party’s Norwich South selection process.”
Mr Goldberg serves as the cabinet member for finance and carbon reduction at Haringey Council in London. He stood against Mr Cameron in Witney during the general election, finishing in third place with 7,511 votes.
He said on Twitter that he was “Really honoured to have been shortlisted 4 Norwich South. This is about taking the fight to Simon Wright and the Lib Dems.”
The final hustings will take place on Saturday, November 19, after which the Labour members will decide which candidate will become their prospective parliamentary candidate.