July 26 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Shoppers in Barkingside were greeted by comedian Eddie Izzard this morning.
Crowds gathered to see the stand-up star, who has also acted in Hollywood films and television series.
He was supporting Redbridge Labour councillors and MPs in their campaign ahead of next month’s elections.
Mr Izzard spoke to shoppers and residents outside the Co-op in High Street.
“It’s good to be here,” he said. “I don’t know of any other comedians who have gone into politics.
“Even my lipstick is the right colour for Labour. I do things in a different way.
“If you really dislike me, you probably dislike a lot of things the Labour Party stands for.”
He is outspoken supporter of the party and plans to run for London Mayor in 2020.
Mr Izzard said he wanted people to vote, no matter who for, during next month’s Redbridge Council and European elections.
He added: “Most people are centre-left or centre-right but a lot of moderates don’t vote and that’s where you get votes for extremism so we want everyone to turn out.”
One of his nails was painted with the EU symbol and another with the union flag to mark his support for the UK to remain in the union.
Mr Izzard, who worked with Hollywood actors including Brad Pitt and George Clooney, declined to talk about his film career.
“Today is about politics,” he said. I answer those questions on those days.”
His involvement in Labour’s campaign has not been appreciated by everyone, including the Conservative council leader Cllr Keith Prince.
“Labour have brought out a comedian because their whole campaign is a joke,” he said.
Mr Izzard, who has just returned from performing stand-up in different languages on a European tour, said it was not the first time he had encountered the reaction.
He said: “When I ran marathons it was a joke, doing stand-up in Spanish was a joke.
“If those are jokes, they are pretty good ones.”
Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of the council Labour group, was pleased to have Mr Izzard’s support.
“We are running a positive campaign and we will let the voters decide on May 22,” he added.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes was delighted at the celebrity appearance in a crucial year for his party.
He said: “Redbridge Council can change hands this time.”
Labour frontbencher Sadiq Khan, the shadow London minister, also met shoppers in Barkingside with the group.