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Politician takes up stand-up

With all the scandal over MPs’ finances, you might expect most politicians to keep their head below the parapet – and certainly not take up a second job.

But Labour MP Tom Levitt has decided to embark on a new career – as a stand-up comedian.

The politician, who represents the High Peaks in Derbyshire, has completed the Amused Moose comedy course to pick up some tips , and will make his solo stand-up debut next week.

He is presenting a show at the Buxton Fringe called Tom Levitt MP: No End Of An Ass, which will feature a number of comic songs, as well as stand-up.

But most of the material won’t be his own, as he intends it to be a tribute show using the work of Alan Bennett, Al Read, Bob Newhart and Jake Thackeray among others.

He said: ‘It’s a pity that so much good comedy is lost when great comics die or move on.

‘There are some great one-person shows around now, but we must never forget performers like Peter Cook, Al Read and Tommy Cooper. They were sheer geniuses who were masters of their genre.’

But he did promise some material, including ‘thoughts on why there are no birds amongthe signs of the zodiac, novel uses for ladies' tights and the soon to be legendary Psittacosis Help Line sketch’.

Levitt, a former teacher, entered Parliament in 1997 and is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and the Voluntary Sector.

Would-be hecklers might want to know that he came under fire during the expenses scandal for claiming £16.50 towards the cost of a poppy wreath he laid at a war memorial during Remembrance Sunday – although the claim was rejected by the fees office. He said the claim was made in error.

He also had to repay £412 after claiming for 12 instalments of council tax on his second home – despite the fact that the levy is only paid over a ten-month period.

When the Daily Telegraph first began its disclosures over MPs’ expenses, he accused the newspaper of ‘conniving with criminals in gutter journalism’.

He will perform No End Of An Ass at Buxton’s Underground Venues on July 10, 17 and 25.

Published: 1 Jul 2009

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