Eddie Izzard has said that he will give up comedy to run for Parliament – hoping to become the country’s first transgender MP.
There has never been an openly transgender Member of Parliament in UK history, despite record levels of MPs who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual.
The closest a transgender person has come to Parliament is Labour’s Sophie Cook, who came a close second to anti-LGBT Conservative Tim Loughton during the 2017 election.
But comedian and activist Eddie Izzard, a long-time supporter of the Labour Party, has said that he plans to run for Parliament at the next election.
The ambitious comic had previously teased a run as the Labour candidate for Mayor of London – but given the incumbent Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan is hugely popular, it’s highly unlikely there’ll be a vacancy in the post any time soon.
In an interview in the Guardian this week, Izzard – who identifies as transgender – suggested he now plans to run for Parliament instead at the next election, currently scheduled for 2021.
He said: “The plan was always to run [for office] in 2020, though Theresa May has changed that with her failed power grab. So now it’s the first general election after 2020.”
He added that he would give up performing entirely if elected.
The comic said: “I would. It’s like [former MP] Glenda Jackson; she gave up acting for 25 years to concentrate on it, then she turns up back as King Lear.”
Izzard, a centrist, ran for an internal Labour Party position last year, but was outvoted by left-wing supporters of current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
In the same interview, Izzard opened up about coming out as trans.
The comic, said: “I think coming out as transgender allowed me to put myself in other terrifying situations and work them out once I was in them.
“I knew I would get through the bad, terrifying bit – and there was a lot of that when I was a street performer – and eventually get to a more interesting place.”
Izzard sometimes presents as male and sometimes as female.
Despite describing himself as a transvestite in the past, in recent years Izzard has more broadly described himself as transgender.
He explained last year during a marathon challenge: “I am a transgender guy who came out 31 years ago.”