PARLIAMENTARY candidate Chris Ruane said acclaimed stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard has “rallied the troops” on a special visit to his campaign trail in Rhyl on Wednesday.

The Labour Party candidate, who has held the Vale of Clwyd seat for a total of 20 years, met Mr Izzard at the Dove pub where they shared tea and cake before speaking to nearby residents ahead of the general election in December.

Mr Izzard, 57, has been a vocal supporter of the Labour Party since becoming an activist in 2008 and campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union in 2016. In a bid to boost the party's support in North Wales this week he also visited the contituencies of Clwyd South, Wrexham, Aberconwy and Arfon.

Speaking in Rhyl, Mr Izzard voiced his full backing of Chris Ruane and a Jeremy Corbyn government “because it represents the many and not the few”. Meanwhile he had scathing criticism for Prime Minister Boris Johnson following claims that the NHS could be tabled in a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal, which Mr Johnson has repeatedly denied.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Richard Green, "lifelong Labour voter" and owner of The Dove, Rhyl

“The NHS is the biggest issue of this general election,” Mr Izzard said. “Boris Johnson is denying it but he wants to sell the NHS off to the United States.

“The National Health Service was created in Wales by Aneurin Bevan [the UK Government’s Minister for Health in 1948] and it needs to be in Chris Ruane and Labour’s hands.”

Mr Izzard, who performed in 26 cities in the United States during his Wanderbar tour last summer and claims to “think like an American”, added that Boris Johnson has “taken a leaf out of [Donald Trump’s] book” by "lying to us as a policy”. “People expect the NHS is safe but it is not,” he said.

Despite being born in the Colony of Aden, Yemen to English parents, Mr Izzard considers himself "an honorary Welsh person” having grown up in South Wales and attended school in Swansea. He flew a Welsh flag for eight of his record-breaking 43 marathons in 51 days in 2015.

He also funded a last-minute helicopter ride to Colwyn Bay last year for “a charity gig I had promised” while filming for Six Minutes to Midnight in Cardiff.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Chris Ruane is joined by Eddie Izzard on his door-to-door campaign trail in Rhyl

While he has put his energy into supporting Labour Party candidates in Wales Mr Izzard has spoken of his own ambitions to become an MP, MEP or the mayor of London in the near future.

“The Labour Party is going through a time of change which represents many and not the few,” he said. "It also shares the environmental concerns of young people.

“This is a coming of age century and a defining general election in which we can decide on a fairer world for everybody.”

Chris Ruane - who was MP from 1997 unil 2015 when he was defeated by James Davies, only to regain the seat in the 2017 snap election - said that, if elected on December 12, he would back the Labour Party’s pledge for a second referendum and the relaunch of the tidal lagoon plan off the Rhyl coast, which could create 20,000 jobs and bring £11billion to North Wales.

Mr Ruane said that Mr Izzard is a “true Labour campaigner” and went down a hit with residents in Rhyl who “wanted selfies with him”.

“Sometimes when dignitaries visit there is a strictly organised procedure and it can be more trouble than it's worth, but Eddie was so easy going,” he said. “He makes everybody laugh and has dominated the local media during his visit."

Mr Ruane has put the NHS at the centre of his campaign amid concern that its healthcare model and prescription charges are at risk under a Conservative government.

"The revelation that there is evidence of UK-US talks over the NHS was made while we were out on the campaign so that was naturally a talking point for a lot of residents," he said.

“The NHS is a precious institution and national treasure and we have to fight for it.

"We are trying to get people to realise this and go to vote on it.”