Reality TV star sets his sights on local elections

By Steven Bell

Big Brother 9’s Luke Marsden might swap media for politics in his hometown of Wigan next year.

The reality TV star said he was giving serious thought to the idea of running as an Independent candidate on Wigan Council.

The 23-year-old former politics student shot to fame when he made it to week 8 in the 2008 series of what was Channel 4’s most-watched programme. He championed his interest in politics throughout his time in the House.

But after two years of projects spanning television, radio, newspapers and magazines, the BB idol, described by Davina McCall as “one of my most favourite housemates,” wants to put his life experience and politics degree to use as a councillor.

“I think it’s time for a real Wiganer to stand up for true Wigan values,” said Luke. “The youth of Wigan needs a voice and I am that voice. There’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding politics at the moment, particularly among young people.

“They don’t know who or what they’re voting for, so they don’t bother. I want to energise the youth of Wigan and make them appreciate the important part politics plays in their lives.”

Luke said anti-social behaviour was a big problem in the town. “I walk around town at night and see big gangs of people hanging around on street corners up to no good, which can be very intimidating for residents,” he said.

“I want to create more things for people to do. Is drinking on street corners and causing a nuisance really the only thing that interests them? I’m sure it isn’t but there just isn’t enough for people to do of an evening.”

After capturing the nation’s hearts in the Channel 4 smash, Luke secured television work, presenting a BBC Children In Need concert in Blackpool, along with appearances on 8 Out of 10 Cats and numerous BB spin-offs.

He’s been a regular contributor to Lancashire radio station Rock FM since his BB eviction and now presents programmes for 96.5 Bolton FM. He also writes for Star magazine.

Asked why he wants to change career now, Luke said: “I just feel it might be the right time to move on. I’d love to make a difference to people’s lives after being given the wonderful opportunities I have in life. I’m still considering all my options but running for councillor is something I am giving more and more thought to.”

If he decides to pursue his political ambitions, lively Luke doesn’t have to wait long to realise them; Wigan Council’s next elections take place in May 2011.

The showbiz star wants to represent the ward where he still lives with his parents – Aspull, New Springs and Whelley.         

Wigan Council spokesman, Phil Green, said the authority would welcome candidates from all backgrounds. “Wigan Council is committed to encouraging and embracing diversity in all things,” he said. 

Euan Holloway, spokesperson for The Electoral Commission, which oversees the running of national and local elections in England, said: “As the independent elections watchdog, we wouldn’t want to comment on any particular candidacy or potential candidacy but we would encourage anyone who is thinking of standing as a candidate to have a look at our website where we publish guidance on standing at an election.”

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