Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Article excerpt

Some MPs clearly think Jack Straw is a bit of a comic turn following speculation about who might play the Foreign Secretary in a new film about the Craig Murray affair.

As Britain's outspoken ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr Murray helped expose human rights abuses by the US-backed Central Asian regime and is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.

Film-maker Michael Winterbottom is planning to bring Mr Murray's book about his dismissal, entitled Murder in Samarkand, to the cinema next year.

Already Steve Coogan, who played the hapless Alan Partridge in the TV series, is pencilled in to play Mr Murray so we asked MPs for suggestions on who might play Mr Straw.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: "I think the late Peter Sellers would have been ideal but I'll go for Woody Allen. He looks like Jack and would bring a touch of situation comedy to the role."

Durham North MP Kevan Jones said: "John Cleese is the man. Just like Jack he spends his time trying to keep a stiff upper lip when everything is falling apart around him."

Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy opted for Rik Mayall ( the anarchic punk in The Young Ones who graduated to be shifty MP Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman. "He captures the spirit of Jack Straw," said Mr Murphy.

Mr Straw, clearly torn between embarrassment of Mr Murray's book and shyness at the prospect of movie stardom, declined to comment.

Liberal Democrats have been accused of mischief-making after claiming there is a power struggle going on behind the scenes among their Labour opponents in Newcastle.

In a briefing document for the local elections, the Lib Dems claim Labour leader Coun John O'Shea could face a challenge from his deputy, Coun Nick Forbes, and that in turn Coun Forbes, who represents the Westgate ward in the Newcastle Central constituency, could be targeted by colleagues in the city's East End.

Completely untrue, says Coun O'Shea, who accused the Lib Dems of trying to deflect attention away from speculation that their own leader, Coun Peter Arnold, may stand down after the election. …

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