IT was eyes down all round as Bolton North East MP David Crausby offered his services as a bingo caller in Breightmet.
Mr Crausby was at the Mecca Bingo club in Breightmet Fold Lane to give his support to the Boost Bingo campaign, a national initiative, led by the Bingo Association, which is calling on the government to bring the tax rate on the game in line with other gambling activities.
The Mecca clubs in Breightmet and in Moor Lane, in the town centre, are joining the campaign by offering people free games this weekend.
The MP was invited to call a game of bingo, something he said he took very seriously.
He added: “I used a couple of the famous expressions, but people take their bingo seriously, so I kept it simple and professional — and nobody was booing me, which is a plus.
“This is a campaign I am supporting, and I saw first hand that bingo clubs are a safe and enjoyable place for people to go and have a nice time.
“It is not fair that bingo is charged at a higher rate of tax. We want these clubs to thrive.
“They are good employers and offer people the chance to socialise where they might not normally be able to — so that is why I am backing the campaign.” Mr Crausby also revealed that the manager of the club, Gary Taylor, jokingly offered him a job as a bingo caller if he were to lose his seat as an MP.
He said: “That was very nice of him, but I intend to win at the next election and keep my day job.”
Bingo fans will be able to take advantage of free games today and tomorrow at the two Mecca clubs at 2.30pm and 8.30pm on both days.
Mr Taylor, who manages the Breightmet venue, said: “David was a real professional and he got a very good reception from the players — he has a good clear voice which is good for the job.
“We are also pleased that Mr Crausby is backing the Boost Bingo campaign. He recognises that we are not asking for preferential treatment, we just want it to be a level playing field. Bingo clubs are such a valuable commodity for people and we need to keep them open.”