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Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 10:57 GMT
Ben Elton denies Bush reports
Ben Elton
Ben Elton is a well-known Labour supporter
Writer and comedian Ben Elton has denied reports that he will perform at the inauguration gala for US President-elect George W Bush.

But a song he wrote for the musical The Beautiful Game will be sung at the event.

Elton told BBC Two's Newsnight programme: "I'm not going and I wouldn't go if I was asked, it's not my kind of gig I have to admit."

Written by Elton and Lord Lloyd-Webber, The Beautiful Game is a love story set in Northern Ireland at the start of the Troubles, following the fortunes of a youth football team.

George W Bush and Bill Clinton
Mr Bush takes over from Bill Clinton later this month
Elton attributes the US interest in the musical to the theme of reconciliation in the show, which opened in London in June at a charity gala attended by the former British and Irish prime ministers.

He added: "John Major and Albert Reynolds came to the opening night and endorsed the show and as they're the architects of the peace process that's why it was picked up in the US."

When asked whether allowing his song, Let Us Love In Peace, to be sung for the Republican president-elect compromised his support for the Labour party, Elton said it was not a political event.

He said: "It wasn't presented as a Republican event but presented as the inauguration of the head of state of the United States."

While Elton said he "despises" some of George W Bush's political views he felt that he was "not sufficiently right-wing to invoke a South African-style boycott".

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See also:

10 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
NI musical welcome for Bush
01 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Elton's new arrival premières
10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Stars come out for Bush party
10 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush minimises cabinet damage
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