Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent, will not be standing for a seat in the next General Election, The Linc can reveal.
He famously defeated former Tory MP Neil Hamilton for the Cheshire seat of Tatton at the 1997 General Election, off the back of an anti-sleaze in politics campaign. After serving one term, he went on to fight for the Brentwood and Ongar seat in Essex against Tory MP Eric Pickles, but lost.
Bell fuelled speculation over whether he would stand in the upcoming election in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal by saying he was “undecided” last year. It had been suggested that he stand against Labour’s Hazel Blears for the Salford seat.
In the interview, he said that he is optimistic that we could see a repeat of Bell’s success as an independent in 1997: “Tatton […] was a people’s insurrection against an MP they really disliked and distrusted, and I think we’re going to get more of the same in 2010.”