British comedian, activist Russell Brand backs Labour Party

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2015 11:41 AM
British comedian, activist Russell Brand backs Labour Party

LONDON (AP) — British comedian-turned-political activist Russell Brand has changed his mind and is no longer urging people not to vote in Thursday's general election — now he wants them to vote for Labour.

Brand used his YouTube channel Monday to urge his more than 1 million subscribers to back Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, saying the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister David Cameron must be stopped.

The last-minute conversion may influence young voters who have read Brand's best-selling book "Revolution" and embraced his YouTube complaints about big business and banks having too much power.

The long-haired comedian, who has starred in several films, has campaigned for the rights of London tenants and complained about heartless capitalism. He interviewed Miliband last week for his YouTube channel — prompting Cameron to label Brand "a joke" and to condemn Miliband for appearing with the bawdy comedian.

Brand struck back on YouTube.

"David Cameron might think I'm a joke. But I don't think there's anything funny about what the Conservative Party has been doing to this country and we have to stop them," he said.

Brand said in his YouTube endorsement that Miliband wouldn't change things overnight but would listen to peoples' complaints. He also tweeted the video to his more than 9 million Twitter followers.

Far-right UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, fighting for a place in Parliament, seemed unimpressed by Brand's backing of Labour.

"I'm very pleased Russell Brand hasn't endorsed me," he told BBC Radio.

Miliband's Labour Party also received the endorsement of best-selling celebrity TV cook Delia Smith, who enjoys a wide national following. Campaigning with Miliband in the seaside city of Brighton, she said she feels the Labour party will protect Britain's National Health Service.

The vote Thursday is expected to be extremely close. Neither of the two main parties — the Conservatives and Labour — are expected to win an absolute majority in Parliament because of the growth of smaller parties like the Scottish National Party and UKIP.