Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 21:45 UK

Comedian Eddie Izzard backs Labour on 'fairness'

Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard campaigning at the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff

Labour have imported a touch of showbiz to their Welsh campaign by bringing in celebrity supporter Eddie Izzard.

The comedian, who lived in south Wales when he was a child, said he backed Labour because he believed in fairness.

Elsewhere, Lib Dems voiced worries about the Tory impact on the public sector, but Conservatives said they had always invested in jobs in Wales.

Plaid Cymru said there should be no public spending cuts until sustained evidence of economic growth.

Having run around the country I thought I'd go round in a slightly easier version where I'm driven around
Eddie Izzard, comedian and marathon man

Izzard recently ran 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief, which included a visit to the house in Skewen, near Swansea, where he lived for a time as a small boy in the late 1960s.

The comedian, on an election visit to Cardiff and Swansea, said he had volunteered to speak for Labour in Wales, England and Scotland.

"Having run around the country I thought I'd go round in a slightly easier version where I'm driven around," he said.

"I have stood up and talked about politics for 10 years, usually on Europe, but I believe in fairness and the Labour Party I believe is also about fairness."

Helen Mary Jones of Plaid Cymru
The idea that we can afford to spend £100bn on nuclear weapons at a time when Barack Obama and the Russian leaders are negotiating their arms down... just seems a complete nonsense
Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru

While he was backing Labour, he wanted everyone to cast their ballot "any which way", no matter who they supported - although he joked that voting Tory was now illegal.

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru highlighted the implications of other parties' cuts for the Welsh budget.

Plaid said that while Labour were accusing the Tories of planning "savage cuts" in public spending, Gordon Brown's party were being "obscure" about their own proposals. Plaid challenged Labour and Liberal Democrats to reveal their plans.

'Protect most vulnerable'

Plaid said there should not be cuts until the sustained evidence of growth, which probably meant three successive quarters in a year.

Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru's director of elections, said her party's priority was to protect the most vulnerable and the services people needed most of all.

Ms Jones said Plaid had identified £9.2bn extra which could be raised in tax "because we believe that those of us who can afford it should be contributing to clearing up this mess, not the poorest".

Kirsty Williams visiting an organic apple juice farm
What happens to those people who can't do it themselves, that rely on our NHS and schools if these savage cuts that David Cameron is now talking about come into play?
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrats' leader

"We've also identified spending cuts on a UK level," she said. "The idea that we can afford to spend £100bn on nuclear weapons at a time when Barack Obama and the Russian leaders are negotiating their arms down... just seems a complete nonsense".

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said she was extremely worried by reports that public spending could be cut by the Conservatives in areas where the public sector is strong.

"We are highly dependent on the public sector for jobs in Wales and as a community we are highly dependent on those sectors for services," said Ms Williams, on a visit to organic apple juice producers at Graig Farm in Crickhowell, Powys, to highlight her party's support for Welsh businesses and produce.

"It's worrying for those people that work in the sector, for our economy if those people lose their jobs, it could put us into a double dip recession, and it's also very worrying for people who depend on those services.

"We've already heard David Cameron talking about 'do-it-yourself' services.

Lord Hunt
Wales is the land of quality. Why is it therefore that we are the worst part of the UK now in emerging from the recession?
Lord Hunt, Conservative

"What happens to those people who can't do it themselves, that rely on our NHS and schools if these savage cuts that David Cameron is now talking about come into play?"

But Conservative former Welsh Secretary Lord Hunt, campaigning in Gower, said Wales had "nothing to fear" from his party.

Lord Hunt, who as David Hunt was in the Welsh Office in the early 1990s, said: "We've always invested in more jobs for Wales.

"I strongly believe, and I've visited many companies already today, that there is huge potential here in Wales as long as we invest more in skills and the jobs of the future.

"Because Wales is the land of quality. Why is it therefore that we are the worst part of the UK now in emerging from the recession?

"We need to invest in the future and that's in the private sector in small and medium sized enterprises and technology and skills."



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