Labour selects 26-year-old Gogglebox star to take on Deputy PM Oliver Dowden at election

Labour has selected yet another celebrity candidate to take on the Tories at the General Election, turning to a familiar face from Channel 4’s hit show Gogglebox.

Josh Tapper, who regularly appeared on the television reaction show from the age of 15, was last night selected to fight deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden in his Hertfordshire seat of Hertsmere.

Reacting to his selection, Mr Tapper said he is “thrilled and honoured” to have won the selection and pledged to not let down local Labour members.

He optimistically said: “The work to unseat the Deputy Prime Minister starts now!”

Mr Downden has a huge 21,313 majority, winning 62.5% of the vote in 2019, so it is unlikely Mr Tapper will deliver on his goal of toppling the top Tory.

However despite his television stardom, he is no political novice.

After starring on Gogglebox for four years alongside his mother, father and sister, he left the show in 2017 to pursue a career in the civil service.

Mr Tapper joined Downing Street, leaving in 2019.

In 2022 he also stood for selection in the North London seat of Chipping Barnett, saying: “Some people may think I’m too young or inexperienced, but I ask you to judge me on my record”.

The TV star isn’t the first celebrity candidate to be selected by Labour ahead of the General Election.

Earlier this month, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree was selected for the seat of Mid Sussex, a more winnable seat than Mr Downden’s with an 18,197 Tory majority.

Mr Rowntree told the Mirror that he hopes to revive the ‘Cool Britannia’ wave of support Tony Blair enjoyed during his first term.

He said: “I didn’t like the name Cool Britannia much, and I didn’t go to the parties, but I was very happy to live through that period”.

Asked if he thought Mr Starmer could make it happen again, he said: “Let’s hope, eh? Let’s hope”.

In December 2022, Labour hired a ‘head of celebrity endorsements’ to line up big-name backers ahead of the election.

The successful candidate was offered £53,700 to drum up endorsements from celebs, an easy job given Labour has consistently won the support of big name stars despite their run of election failures.

Unlike Mr Tapper and Mr Rowntree, comedian Eddie Izzard has proven less successful in his political ambitions, failing to be selected for at least two seats in Sheffield and Brighton.

In Brighton he was defeated by another musician, Tom Gray of the band Gomez.

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