VETERAN television presenter Esther Rantzen saw her budding political ambitions go up in smoke today after her anti-sleaze stance as an independent campaigner in Luton South failed to net enough votes to retain her deposit.
Rantzen’s candidacy did not help the Tory cause in London, after Labour held on to the seat with 34.9 per cent of the vote. The result came despite a 4.6 per cent swing from voters towards Conservative candidate Nigel Huddleston, who had earmarked the seat as a potential blue victory but only secured 29.4 per cent of the vote.
69-year-old Rantzen – who is best known for fronting the BBC TV series “That’s Life!” and also founded child protection charity Childline – received just a 4.4 per cent share of the vote, well shy of the 5 per cent needed in order for candidates to retain their election deposit.
She decided to run in the election in order to contest the Labour seat previously held by Margaret Moran, who became embroiled in the expenses scandal last year after she switched the designation of her second home multiple times and claimed £22,500 to repair a case of dry rot at her partner’s house, 100 miles away from her constituency in Southampton.
But Moran was replaced by another Labour candidate Gavin Shuker after she pulled out of the race in May last year.