Norfolk

Stephen Fry considered becoming Labour MP, letter reveals

Stephen Fry Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stephen Fry is best known for the television comedy Blackadder and quiz show QI

Stephen Fry considered becoming a Labour MP in the 1990s, a new book has revealed.

Writing to the party's then-leader Neil Kinnock and his wife Glenys, the actor and TV host said he could envisage himself "on the government benches".

The 1991 letter is revealed by Anglia Ruskin University historian Dr Richard Carr in a new book.

Fry had been a long-time supporter of Labour and would later appear in a party political broadcast.

In the letter, found by Dr Carr at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, Fry laid out his admiration for Mr Kinnock in the run-up to the 1992 election, which many had tipped him to win.

Image caption Neil Kinnock was expected by many to win the 1992 general election

"Looking ahead to your second premiership, I am seriously considering the possibility that you may well have me behind you on the government benches in 1995-96 and giving your whips headaches," he wrote.

Wishing the Kinnocks a happy Christmas, he added: "I already know that you're going to have a great nineteen ninety-two."

However, Mr Kinnock would lose the election, prompting his resignation as leader.

Later, Fry opposed the Iraq War and refused to back Labour in the 2005 general election.

'A grown-up'

Fry, 62, who has a home in Norfolk, was a board member of Norwich City FC, whose joint majority shareholder Delia Smith is also a Labour supporter and whose former chairman Ed Balls was a Labour cabinet member.

Dr Carr said: "I think Stephen Fry would have fitted in perfectly in the House of Commons. He is very much a grown-up, which is what we want in our politicians.

"If Boris [Johnson] has gone from Fleet Street to Downing Street, who knows how far Fry could have risen?"

But had Fry become a politician, he said, we "might not have had QI on television".

Dr Carr's book March of the Moderates is a historical defence of New Labour in the UK and the New Democrats in the US.

A spokeswoman for Fry said the actor was aware of the letter and happy for its content to appear in the book, but would not be commenting.

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