Lembit to become Daily Sport political columnist

File under ‘You couldn’t make it up’ – the Guardian reports:

Former Cheeky Girl beau and Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik is to rejoin the Daily Sport as its political columnist this week. Opik, who alongside his regular TV appearances represents Welsh constituency Montgomeryshire, will pen a weekly Friday column for the paper.

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34 Comments

  • Lembit is ill-advised to do this. The proprietor of the “Daily Sport”, David Sullivan, is a convicted criminal who has served a term of imprisonment for living off immoral earnings.

  • Julian H said:

    So is it better that the LD parliamentary team has this voice representing it in a national ‘paper, or would it be preferable for those 80,000 readers to be exposed to more Conservative and Labour spin?

    Frankly I doubt the majority of Sport readers would vote anyway…

  • Also – is this another job he’s always wanted?

  • Paul Harding 11th Dec '08 - 4:03pm

    James Graham Says:
    The Daily Sport sells around 80,000 copies every day, less than half that of the Independent.

    Yes, but the 160,000 readers of the Indi a) vote and b) know all about Lib Dem policy

  • David Allen 11th Dec '08 - 4:34pm

    “At least its a lib dem MP getting some coverage, even if its in an obscure barely read newspaper. Its better than nothing.”

    What about when the Daily Sport editorial team get to work on bringing Lembit’s text closer to their paper’s core values? And what about when the national Press gleefully reprint that text the next day?

  • Surely it is to raise the ire of any of Opik’s candid friends to suggest this is a deliberate attempt to widen our appeal by broadening our audience.

    Are we to condemn all Daily Sport readers for the actions of the publications’ propietor?

  • Hywel Morgan 11th Dec '08 - 8:35pm

    “1) Who are we to tell somebody else what to do?”

    That logic means we should have no whipping or expectation that “our” MPs follow party policy.

    When Robin Cook wrote a column for the Racing Post it was a serious politician doing somethin that reached an unconventional audience. However he didn’t do it as a follow up to losing to Edwina Currie on Celebrity Bargain Hunt.

    Lembit has a great talent – but so did/do Charlie Nicholas/Mark Ramprakash/Graham Hick/Gavin Henson (dare I say!). Anyone reckon they achieved their full potential?

  • Are there still such people as “feminists”? I wonder what they have to say about a Lib Dem MP writing for Sullivan’s smutrag?

  • Perennially Bored 11th Dec '08 - 10:12pm

    I’m a feminist. I think it’s a good thing as it won’t take him long, it might reach out to some new voters, leading to us getting more seats and being better able to stand up for women’s rights. Obviously I don’t like the Sport (actually I’ve never read it, but I imagine I wouldn’t like it), but I don’t expect Lembit likes it much either. I think it’s taking principles rather too far to refuse to reach out to people because we don’t like the newspaper they read.

  • People look at the “Daily Sport” for the downmarket brothel and chatline ads, and for the grainy pictures of grotesquely protuberant women. It isn’t the sort of place one goes to read about current affairs.

  • Iain Coleman 12th Dec '08 - 1:26am

    I’m really not seeing the downside. Lembit will get some good liberal ideas out in an accessible way to an audience that we don’t generally reach. Good for him.

    The worst thing that happens is nobody reads it, and he wastes an hour or two of his time every week. That’s no big deal.

    We need people out there practising populist liberalism, and Lembit in the Sport is part of that.

  • Liam Pennington 12th Dec '08 - 10:51am

    Good Lords…

    Is it any wonder that, during the Presidential election, the anti-Opik lobby found it so easy to point to his failings.

    The man is an absolute and complete joke.

    For a Member of Parliament to write for a “newspaper” whose coverage is almost wall-to-wall porn and blue pill adverts is a total and complete joke. For a man who was going to be the President of a party…!

    The good folk of his constituency deserve better than this clown.

  • Hywel Morgan 12th Dec '08 - 11:28am

    Was Jerry Hayes “broadening the appeal of the Tory party” by making weekly appearances on the James Whale TV show. Remind me how successful he was?

  • David Morton 12th Dec '08 - 12:37pm

    If this was the Independent, even with its tiny readership, people would be saying it was a success. The criticism seems to stand or fall on the “quality” and “tone” of the Daily Sport. As has been suggested it is indeed full of porn ads and blue pills.

    I just slightly balk at politicans choosing their voters rather than voters chooing their Politicans.

    I doubt its a large time commitment and gets printed messages into the hands of readers free of charge. Is it really any more problematic than writing for the mail or the telegraph or the sun with there rightwing agendas ?

    Is this really about the dignity of office of MP’s or about distain about the kind of people who read the Daily Sport?

  • Hywel Morgan 12th Dec '08 - 2:02pm

    I think your right Mark – the impact on the party will be negligble.

    However it’s yet another thing Lembit does which makes him look like a jokey, lightweight figure. His basic talent means he should have amounted to something far more than that (eg he was very impressive on Qt last night from the bit I saw).

    I voted for him for President (in part against my better judgement) in the hope that talent would be fulfilled at the highest level (AKA the selecting Graham Hick strategy :-)

    There isn’t anything wrong per se (and can be benefits) with an MP appearing on:
    Big Brother’s Little Brother
    Have I got news for you
    The Cheeky Girls documentary on Living TV
    The Al Murray Show
    Celebrity Bargain Hunt
    and writing a column in the Daily Sport

    However if they do ALL the above people may draw the conclusion that they want to entertain people rather than be a serious political figure.

  • Perhaps a different Lib Dem MP should have taken up the role? With a peg on my nose I could possibly bear a Lib Dem writing for the Star – but the fact that it’s Lembit just underscores a troubling theme ….

  • Liam Pennington 12th Dec '08 - 3:49pm

    crewegwyn – It does highlight a theme, just don’t expect the pro-Lembit lobby to take any notice of you!

  • I hold to my view that Lembit is enormously talented, and has a useful role in the Party when it comes to appealling to young people and the apathetic; but I repeat the caveat that I add on every occasion that I defend Lembit: the guy has a serious issue with his discriminatory judgment.

    Does Lembit know who David Sullivan is? Is he aware of this man’s history, his criminal record, his attempts to push porn into every high street, and his associations with organised crime? Has he ever looked inside the “Daily Sport”? Is he aware of the high probability that many of those ads will lead to trafficked sex slaves? What are Lib Dem voters, let alone the general public, going to make of this?

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th Dec '08 - 7:47pm

    Hywel is quite right. Anyone with any sort of sense in Lembit’s position would be thinking “Ok, I’ve made a bit of an arse of myself in recent times, I’d better try and be careful and not do anything more silly, in order to save my reputation and once again get thought of as a serious politician”.

    Whatever talent he may have, what has happened here suggests there is some big thing missing in his brain, the lack of which, unfortunately, means he could not be trusted with any serious position of responsibility.

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