Stand-up comedian, actor and political activist Eddie Izzard has announced that he will again throw his hat into the ring in an attempt to be elected onto Labour's National Executive Committee. (NEC).

Izzard's politics

Eddie Izzard has been a long-term supporter and champion of the Labour cause. He has campaigned actively for the party in each of the last four elections and sees election to the NEC as his opportunity to shape the future of the party.

As someone who identifies himself as 'transgender', Mr Izzard said in an open letter in The Guardian that he wanted to use the role if he were elected " to break down barriers" and to make the party more welcoming for groups who feel "isolated or excluded".

He is already a campaigner for LGBT rights but sees this as an opportunity to extend that to all areas of the community who feel disenfranchised such as those with mental health issues, disabled and ethnic minorities.

What he wants to see is an end to "politics as usual" and a fight for an "open and tolerant party". Izzard has already stood for membership of the NEC in 2016 and narrowly lost out but recently Jeremy Corbyn has announced that there will be three new seats available on the committee.

Izzard's beliefs

He is as well-known today for his political activism as he is for his comedy but when he began performing in the 1980's it was his identification as transgender that turned most heads.

Being so open about one's beliefs was not something that people were open about 30 or so years ago and the comic suffered for it. He was frequently taunted and at times physically abused for his preferences for wearing nail polish, skirts or high heels but as he states in his letter in The Guardian, "eventually society started to catch up." As someone who is all too aware of being an outsider in terms of their beliefs, it is no surprise that he should want to stand for those in society who feel isolated.

Izzard the performer

He began his performing career doing improvised street theatre in Covent Garden and after several years when the wave of 'alternative comedy' took hold he famously refused to appear on television. Thankfully that has now changed and he has appeared on TV and in many films. His tours sell out worldwide and he was voted in 3rd place in Britain's 100 Greatest Comedians behind Peter Kay and Billy Connolly.

He famously ran 43 marathons in 51 days in 2009 for Sports Relief despite having no history in distance running and virtually no training.

That he should now turn his considerable talent to the political stage is an exciting prospect. Eddie Izzard has proved time and again that he has the strength of character for a fight and the tenacity to see it through.