POSH celebrity cook and Liberal Democrat supporter Clarissa Dickson-Wright was campaigning yesterday on behalf of a North-East would-be Tory MP after defecting to the Conservatives.

The surviving half of TV's Two Fat Ladies was in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, to throw her weight behind north Durham prospective parliamentary candidate Matthew Palmer.

Ms Dickson-Wright said reading details of deals with Labour in former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown's autobiography sealed her decision to switch.

Announcing her decision in Chester-le-Street's Market Place yesterday, she admitted: "I am not a very big political animal."

But since going sober 14 years ago she has always given Liberal candidates her vote.

Mr Palmer, who will contest the north Durham seat with new Labour candidate Kevan Jones in this year's elections, promised more high profile support for his battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Chester-le-Street, Stanley and the surrounding area.

He said: "She was the first of the big hitters that we are bringing in to support me."

Mr Palmer would not comment on who his next celebrity backer might be.