Stephen Fry 'boycotts Labour bash due to Gambaccini snub'
One-time Labour luvvie backs out of gala dinner at protest over treatment of BBC DJ
What would General Melchett say? Stephen Fry, famous for his role as the blustering general in the Blackadder series, has apparently fired a salvo at Labour for upsetting one of his friends.
The Independent reports that Fry was due to be one of the VIPs at a Labour Party election gala dinner at the Roundhouse where tables for ten are being offered at £15,000. (If that's beyond your wallet, it's £500 for an individual ticket or a mere £100 to attend the after party.)
Buying a table will enable donors to rub shoulders with members of the shadow cabinet and perhaps bend their ears about what they want to see in Labour’s manifesto.
While some Blairite Labour MPs have been complaining that Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are seen as “anti-business", the dinner is likely to attract businessmen keen to influence the direction of the next Labour government over such issues as the NHS budget for pharmaceutical drugs.
Fry, previously a Labour luvvie, was expected to join Labour leader Ed Miliband at the Roundhouse event on 9 July. However, he's said to be boycotting it in protest at Paul Gambaccini being left off the guest list for a previous fund-raiser.
The BBC radio DJ, who is 65, was arrested in October as part of Operation Yewtree on suspicion of historical sexual offences. The fact that he was later released on bail and has never been charged with any offence has received a lot less publicity than the original arrest.
Gambaccini, a long-standing Labour sympathiser, had been expecting an invitation – but when it arrived it was for his partner Christopher Sherwood only.
The DJ is said to have been upset by this clear snub and Fry sympathised. According to the Independent, “Labour’s hopes of getting the comic and national treasure to their 9 July event are fading, though Alastair Campbell is trying to mend fences.”
Whether Campbell is the best man for that job is a moot point. Fry was once an active Labour supporter and appeared in a party political broadcast with Hugh Laurie, one of his Blackadder co-stars, in 1993. But he did not vote in 2005 in protest at Blair’s support for the Iraq war - which Campbell famously backed to the hilt.