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Blur's Dave Rowntree Selected as U.K. Labour Party Candidate

Rountree's forays into UK politics have not deterred his other long-sitting position behind the drumkit for Blur.

Source: CC BY 2.0

Blur's Dave Rowntree at Wembley Stadium, July 2023.

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Blur drummer Dave Rowntree announced via his social media accounts that he is now a standing candidate for Parliament on March 7, running for the Labour party seat in Mid Sussex. The constituency includes Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and the Mid Sussex villages and is currently held by Conservative party MP Mims Davies.

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In a statement, Rountree said: “Residents have their best chance in a generation to make their vote count and return a Labour MP to parliament. The Tories have run out of ideas, and the Lib Dems have run out of steam. I’m running for parliament to provide the energy and vision the area so desperately needs.”

The 59-year-old musician has had a long history in local U.K. politics, most recently serving as a Labour party councillor for Norfolk City Council in the East of England from 2017-2021. Rowntree's political aspirations go back to 2002, when he became a Labour party activist and supporter, but began bids to stand in 2007, starting with the Conservative seat of Marylebone High Street on Westminster City Council, which proved unsuccessful.

He also took unsuccessful stands as a Labour party member in 2008, 2010, 2011, but was elected as county councillor for the University ward in Norwich in 2017.

A spokesperson for Mid Sussex's Labour party said (via the BBC): "We think Dave will be an excellent and a very successful candidate."

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Source: Lia Toby/WENN/Newscom/The Mega Agency

Blur (with Rowntree, third from left) at the Q Awards in October 2012.

His forays into U.K. politics have not deterred his other long-sitting position behind the drumkit for Blur. Not for lack of trying, the group has gone on a couple of creative hiatuses, yet frequently reformed to release music that remains relevant in an age when the band's Britpop peers Suede and Pulp are also still in the game.

Following a gap of some eight years from their last release, The Magic Whip, Blur released The Ballad of Darren in July 2023. The album debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Official Charts, making it their seventh consecutive No. 1 in the U.K. This led to a 2023 world tour, as well as a surprise glut of nominations for the 2024 BRIT Awards, where they were nominated for Best British Group, Best British Alternative Act and British Album of the Year.

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Source: Raph_PH/CC BY 2.0

Graham Coxon, Damon Albarn, Dave Rowntree and Alex James, Wembley Stadium, July 2023.

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While Blur is scheduled to perform at Coachella in April, it looks like another hiatus is on the cards. Previous to the BRITs and speaking to the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles (as reported by Far Out), he described the band's 2023 reunion as a "beautiful success" but revealed that he's going to step back from the band until further notice.

"It is time to wrap up this campaign," he told the magazine. "It’s too much for me. It was the right thing to do and an immense honor to play these songs again, spend time with these guys, make an album, blah-blah-blah.

"I’m not saying I won’t do it again, it was a beautiful success, but I’m not dwelling on the past."

Conceivably, this slots nicely with Rowntree's political future and if the math plays out, new material might be forthcoming in 2031.


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