Monty Panesar: Ex-England cricketer standing to become MP for George Galloway's party

Former England cricket star Monty Panesar is standing to be an MP in London at the election - and has aspirations to become prime minister.

The 42-year-old spin bowler announced on Tuesday he will be standing as a candidate for George Galloway's Workers Party of Britain in the west London constituency of Ealing Southall.

Panesar, who played for England between 2006 and 2013, is set to run against Labour incumbent Virendra Sharma, who has been the MP there for 18 years, as part of Mr Galloway's plan to scupper the party's chances by protesting against its stance on the war in Gaza.

Confirming the cricketer will be standing, Mr Galloway told LBC: "Monty, of course, was a great left arm spinner and so we could do with him."

Panesar, writing in the Telegraph, said he wants to get into politics "to help the working class in this country".

He said he wants to help the fans who "loved and supported giving back and making a difference in their lives".

"I believe neither the Labour party or the Tories are really helping the working class, and I think I can bridge that gap and make a difference as an MP," he added.

The spinner, also known as The Python (after Monty Python) and Parmesan Tony (an anagram of his name), said he has only known Mr Galloway "briefly" but knows he is focusing on "reducing the massive gulf between the rich and poor in Britain".

He said he will focus on the NHS, wants to introduce a wealth tax, reduce the pension age to 60 and wants "better control of our borders to stop the illegal immigration that is currently happening".

The cricketer also wants to bring football clubs under fan ownership.

"I want to be the voice for the workers of this country and my aspiration in politics is to one day become prime minister, where I would make Britain a safer and stronger nation," he wrote.

"But the first job at hand is to represent the people of Ealing Southall."

Former Labour and Respect Party MP Mr Galloway re-entered British politics in March after a shock victory in the Rochdale by-election after running a campaign focusing on the war in Gaza as he said he wanted to appeal to the large Muslim vote in the constituency.

However, Panesar did not mention Gaza when explaining why he wanted to stand.