John Cryer’s moonlight flit – the speculation continues

A corespondent with his finger on the pulse of Labour politics revisits the Cryer flit:

‘Back in July 2015, we reported that one of our local Labour MPs, John Cryer, had moved to Lewisham two months after retaining his seat in the General Election, prompting various wags to call for the house he had sold to be awarded a blue plaque in honour of his relatively brief residency [see ‘John Cryer MP Once Lived Here’ – linked below].

News of Mr. Cryer’s move slipped out rather haphazardly, though it must have been planned for some time, and this provoked a degree of comment. Sundry residents felt that he should have been more forthright, sooner. Local Labour activists, too, were unamused, especially as, when first elected, Mr. Cryer had pledged to live in the constituency. The belief gained ground that he was only really interested in keeping his place on the green benches of the House of Commons and had little loyalty to the area, with one rank and file party member concluding: “for all he cares, he just as well could be MP for Orkney and Shetland”.

It has now come to light that the present Cryer home is not in Lewisham after all but in the borough of Bromley, even further from Leyton and Wanstead. Back in 2015, the chair of our local Labour party was heard to comment that there were clear parallels with Lady Macbeth, as the move seemed to be being driven by Ellie Reeves – Mr. Cryer’s new wife, long-time member of the Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, and sister of rising star and potential post Corbyn Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP.  The Cryer camp did not deny Ms. Reeves’ salience, though it added a twist to tug at the heartstrings. Following the birth of their son, it was said, the couple wanted to be close to Ms. Reeves’ family in Lewisham, so they could get help with childcare.

However, there are some who suspect that this is only part of the story, with Ms. Reeves long held ambition to become an MP being of at least equal importance.

It often has been the practice of those with Parliamentary ambitions to establish themselves in the constituencies of members approaching retirement. Ms. Reeves is clearly putting down the right kind of roots, for example launching her own local legal practice, Working Mums Advisory. On the other hand, choosing Bromley seems at first sight odd, because it is a prominent Tory stronghold. However, a few minutes research reveals some interesting facts. The Cryer-Reeves home may be geographically in Bromley, but for electoral purposes it sits in the Lewisham West and Penge constituency. The latter is currently held for Labour by Jim Dowd with a 12,700 majority.

And Mr. Dowd’s age?

Sixty-Five’.

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