ACCLAIMED actress Maxine Peake is backing a campaign to re-instate two sacked University of Bolton employees.

The award-winning actress has released a statement following the dismissal of Damien and Jenny Markey, who were dismissed for allegedly leaking information to the press about the vice-chancellor George Holmes.

The sackings of Damien and Jennifer Markey follow reports about the vice chancellor receiving a bridging loan of nearly £1 million to buy a house in Bolton and about the cost of staff away days.

Mr Markey, a senior lecturer in visual effects and his wife, an academic administrator, both deny any involvement in leaking information.

The Bolton-born actress has issued a statement supporting the Markeys.

Maxine said:“I strongly support the campaign for the reinstatement of Damien and Jenny Markey at Bolton University.

"Attacks on trade unionists are part of a growing trend towards shutting down dissent in our public institutions and places of work.

"Behind this repressive trend is a relentless drive towards privatisation of our public services, the consolidation of ever more power in the hands of big business and finance, and the steady enrichment of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary working people.

"This process has to be stopped.

"We need to see an end to secret deals between politicians and the corporate world, an end to the suppression of dissent.

"Instead we need transparency and democratic accountability from our public institutions and political representatives.

“My very best wishes for a successful campaign”.

Mr Markey is a member of the University and College Union (UCU) and was the secretary of the local branch. His wife is also a member of the local Unison branch.

The UCU says it believes that the decision to dismiss him was because of his trade union activities — a claim the university has denied.