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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 12:12 GMT
Bruno considers election fight
Frank Bruno
The former boxer is thinking about a career in politics
Former boxer Frank Bruno could be taking on a new fight in standing for Parliament at the next election.

The former heavyweight champion is said to be considering contesting the traditionally safe Tory seat of Brentwood and Ongar against independent MP Martin Bell.

When asked if he would be standing, he told BBC Radio Essex: "Yes I've been thinking about it, I'm still thinking about it."

There is world of difference between receiving applause in pantomime and standing on the hustings

Tory MP Eric Pickles

But he has yet to reveal which political party this would be for or which seat he would be contesting.

Bruno, who is currently starring in the pantomime Goldilocks in Milton Keynes, would only say he had been in discussions with "some people".

Bell challenge

Last month former BBC journalist Mr Bell announced his "provisional" intention to stand in the Essex seat at the General Election, expected in May.

Bruno, who lives in the constituency, said at the time he was delighted by the news as he thought Mr Bell was a "very good guy".

Martin Bell: Ready for battle

Brentwood and Ongar sitting Tory MP Eric Pickles said: "If he wants to stand he will add a bit of glamour to the campaign.

"But there is world of difference between receiving applause in pantomime and standing on the hustings. I don't think he will enjoy the experience."

In Brentwood and Ongar the local Conservative party has been in turmoil because of claims that it is undemocratic.

Around 200 members of the Peniel Pentecostal Church joined and voted their members into a number of key posts.

Although some of the ousted Tories left to form their own Independent Conservative group, a Central Office inquiry found no evidence of any impropriety.

The seat was held for the Tories at the last General Election by Mr Pickles with a majority of 9,690, making it the sixth safest Conservative seat in the country.

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See also:

08 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Bell: A promise too far?
02 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Bell eyes up Tory seat
08 Mar 99 | UK Politics
Tatton contenders unveiled
08 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Bell set to run again
20 Jun 00 | UK
Frank Bruno marriage ends
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