Dave Rowntree, of Blur
A ROCK star of the “Britpop Wars” of the 1990s is bidding to reinvent himself as a Liverpool MP.
Dave Rowntree, the drummer in Blur, has applied to be Labour’s candidate in the West Derby seat, where leftwinger Bob Wareing is fighting deselection.
The 42-year-old millionaire, who has already tried unsuccessfully to be a Labour councillor in London, is now waiting to hear if he will make the shortlist.
But Mr Rowntree would also have to defeat Mr Wareing, who will fight to continue his 24-year career in the ballot of rank-and-file party members, on September 16.
If the pop star is successful, it will represent a remarkable transformation from the days of touring the world with one of Britain’s most successful bands.
London-based Blur are best known for going head-to-head with arch-rivals Oasis by releasing singles on the same day in the summer of 1995, at the height of Britpop.
The Blur single, Country House, won the battle, but Oasis won the wider war by selling many more copies of their subsequent album.
The band have not officially split up but have not recorded an album or toured together for many years.
Last night, Mr Rowntree declined to comment on the West Derby battle, saying only: “It’s the wrong time to be talking about that.”
However, Labour sources confirmed the drummer was among about a dozen applicants for the ultra-safe seat. The party’s majority was 15,225 at the 2005 election.
Stephen Twigg, the ex-MP famous for ousting Michael Portillo in 1997, and historian Tristram Hunt, the son of a Labour peer, are also in the running. Mr Wareing said he did not know who would challenge him in September, but said: “The vultures are out and there are plenty of them.”
The 76-year-old veteran has alleged vote-rigging in the so-called “trigger” ballot which he lost in March and suspects a plot to remove him.
A member of the left-wing Campaign Group, Mr Wareing has made many enemies in the Labour party, voting, for example, against the Iraq War, anti-terror laws and renewing Trident.
In addition, Labour is known to be keen to ease out older MPs.
Mr Wareing demanded the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) investigate the trigger ballot, but it concluded “procedures were followed correctly”.
In contrast to the left-winger, Mr Rowntree did not oppose the Iraq War and is against unilateral nuclear disarmament, although he has described himself as a Socialist.