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Frank Bruno's bid to become MP after ‘promising to leave UK' if Labour voted in

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The former heavyweight boxer said he wanted to contest the traditionally safe Conservative seat of Brentwood and Ongar. Currently held by Trudy Harrison, Bruno was ready to go toe-to-toe against independent MP Martin Bell in the 2001 general election. He later stated that he would be standing as a Tory against Mr Bell, telling the public: “Don’t be a plank, vote for Frank.”

In a reference to Mr Bell, he added: “Any time he’s ready I’m on stand-by.”

The move came after Bruno is reported to have said he would “leave the country” if Labour won in 1997, according to the BBC.

But his plot to get a seat in Westminster was quickly shut down by then-Brentwood and Ongar MP, Eric Pickles. 

Mr Pickles revealed that he had already been selected as the official Tory candidate, which was supported by the Conservative Central Office who rejected Bruno’s plan.

A spokesman said: “He would have to stand as an independent.”

Mr Pickles said Bruno would “add a bit of glamour to the campaign,” though.

He added: “But there is a world of difference between receiving applause in pantomime and standing on the hustings. I don’t think he will enjoy the experience.”

Bruno, who lived in the constituency at the time, said he was delighted with the comments and stated Mr Bell was a “very good guy”.

Responding, Mr Bell stated: “I like Frank, he’s a great guy and he has every right to stand.

READ MORE: Frank Bruno silenced Piers Morgan after tense Muhammad Ali exchange: ‘Leave it!’

The 59-year-old is a former world champion boxer and was the focus of a new Sky Sports documentary this year – ‘Bruno vs Tyson’.

He faced multiple top-rated heavyweights throughout his career, including two fights against Mike Tyson in 1989 and 1996, and a domestic clash against Lennox Lewis in 1993.

He had a highly publicised and eventful career, both in and out of the ring. 

He recently appeared on an episode of ITV’s ‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’ – the show where the popular gardener celebrates all that is good about the British countryside, art, crafts, manufacturing and produce.

Taking to Instagram after the programme was aired, Bruno said:  “What a genuinely nice man Alan Titchmarsh is, even off-camera.”



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