COMEDY met politics in Leeds when Eddie Izzard dropped in on students and shoppers in the city yesterday.
The cross-dressing comic was in no joking mood when he visited students at Leeds Metropolitan University’s City Campus Library, in Woodhouse.
His appearance also drew the crowds in Briggate, where he expressed his support for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign, with the help of student musicians from Leeds College of Music.
He said: “I’m delighted to be headed to Leeds. The referendum race is too close to call and voters in Leeds and Yorkshire could make all the difference.”
The stand-up comedian and actor, 49, is a leading voice behind the campaign, which backs people to vote for the alternative vote system.
His visit to Leeds came as part of a whirlwind UK tour to back the change, in which he is travelling around the country in a purple Volkswagen camper van.
Izzard’s speech in Briggate was supported by a street stall and leafletting as well as appearances by local politicians.
Fabian Hamilton MP (Lab, Leeds North East) attended along with representatives from UKIP, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.
The AV system would allow voters to rank political candidates in order of preference, rather than choosing a single candidate.
Leeds’ campaign coordinator Arnie Craven said: “It’s fantastic to have Eddie here to try and get people to vote for a fairer voting system.”
The four-day tour will take in major cities in the UK including Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester and York.
Izzard, who’s background is in stand up, has also played roles in big-budget films such as Rage, Valkyrie and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
He recently hit the headlines when he ran 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief, raising £200,000 for charity.
People will get the chance to vote for or against AV, in the UK’s second national referendum, on Thursday, May 5.