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1970s children’s television presenter and actor Keith Chegwin has announced he will not stand in the Newark byelection, saying his candidature would be a distraction as European elections approach.

The byelection has been caused by the resignation of Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who faces a six-month ban from parliament over a cash-for-questions scandal – and speculation had been mounting that Mr Chegwin would try to be the first Multi-Coloured Swap Shop presenter to win a parliamentary seat.

Faced by the charge that he had showed political cowardice, Chegwin said if he stood it would be a massive distraction:

I am a fighter and a warrior but I am determined to pick my battles. I think I can be accused of many things in life but I do not think ‘frit’ is one of them – especially if you consider my decision to agree to present Naked Jungle while wearing only a hat and a pair of field boots and nothing else.

However, Chegwin promised he would concentrate on “throwing the kitchen sink” at the byelection and field a strong Cheggers Plays Pop candidate such as Noel Edmonds or Maggie Philbin.

Mr Chegwin told BBC News he did not rule out standing stark b*ll*ck naked in a television programme again before the general election if it would help his career.


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