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Former ambassador eyes vacant Norwich North seat

PUBLISHED: 20:05 07 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 July 2010

Former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray

Former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray

A political activist and former ambassador to Uzbekistan has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next Norwich North MP following Ian Gibson's resignation.

Craig Murray's website

A political activist and former ambassador to Uzbekistan has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next Norwich North MP following Ian Gibson's resignation.

Craig Murray gave a rallying cry for "freedom against corruption" on his blog just hours after Dr Gibson announced that he would stand down as MP with immediate effect.

Mr Murray, who describes himself as a Scottish dissident, said he would be standing as an "independent, anti-sleaze candidate" in the forthcoming by-election.

The 50-year-old Norfolk-born Rector of the University of Dundee has never been an MP but has tried before - he stood as an independent against Jack Straw in Blackburn in the May 2005 general election and polled 2,082 votes. He said he hoped to "channel people's resentment at the corrupt careerists who run our parliament and political systems".

"We are going in Norwich North to start a movement for reform that will bring in a flood of independents at the following general election," he said on his blog.

"It's a Norfolk movement for people power. We are going to start on Mousehold Heath working for freedom against a corrupt London, just like old Robert Kett. Only this time, we are going to win."

He said: "I sacrificed an extremely lucrative career as a British Ambassador, for the principle of opposing British government collusion with torture. I have a proven record of putting principle before money or party."

Speaking of the "sleaze" of the expenses crisis he added: "I will live in the constituency. I will take only the barest necessary travel expenses to help me do the job, and publish instantly any claim. I will guarantee to keep my expenses to less than 50pc of the average, and hopefully still less."

He described Dr Gibson as a good MP who had done the honourable thing by standing down.

Mr Murray was appointed British ambassador to Uzbekistan at the relatively young age of 43, and was dismissed from the post in October 2004. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office denied any controversy and said it was for "operational reasons".

He separated from his wife, with whom he has two children, after starting a relationship with an Uzbek woman whom he met while she was working as a belly dancer in a night club. She followed him when he left Uzbekistan and they married in May.

Craig Murray's website

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