February 10, 2011

Gough turns down chance to be Tory MP

Andrew Miller

Darren Gough was offered the chance to stand as a Conservative Party candidate at the forthcoming by-election in his home town in Barnsley, according to The Guardian, but hung up on what he assumed was a prank call when the Prime Minister, David Cameron, rang him personally to make the overture.

The extraordinary offer came in the wake of the Conservatives’ poor showing at the recent by-election in Oldham East & Saddleworth. A Conservative party spokesman said: "Darren Gough is a supporter of the party and will be taking part in the campaign for Barnsley. He will not be standing as an MP, however."

Gough, who retired from professional cricket in 2008, is said to have cited his work commitments as the main reason for turning down the offer, which was eventually made to him when another Tory MP called him back to convince him that Cameron’s approach had been serious. Having won Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, he is much in demand for media appearances.

Had he chosen to take the stump, however, Gough would have been in good company, with several former cricketers choosing to go into politics after finishing their careers – including the former Sri Lanka captains Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya, and the former India captain, Mohammad Azharuddin.

A No 10 source told The Sun newspaper: "The PM's a big fan. They ... had a very good conversation.”

Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazine

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