Jon Cruddas

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Jon Cruddas MP
JonCruddasMP.jpg
Labour Party Policy Coordinator
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 May 2012
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Liam Byrne
Member of Parliament
for Dagenham and Rainham
Dagenham (2001–2010)
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Judith Church
Majority 2,630 (5.9%)
Personal details
Born (1962-04-07) 7 April 1962 (age 52)
Helston, Cornwall, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Anna Mary Healy
Residence Dagenham/Notting Hill
Alma mater University of Warwick
Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Website www.joncruddas.org.uk

Jonathan Cruddas (born 7 April 1962) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 2001, first for Dagenham and then for Dagenham and Rainham.

A graduate of Warwick University, Cruddas was first elected to Parliament in 2001. Having been critical of many aspects of the Blair Government, Cruddas stood for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party in 2007, being eliminated in the penultimate round of the contest. Unlike the other five candidates, he openly stated that he did not wish to become Deputy Prime Minister. He won the most votes in the first round of voting, obtaining 19.39% of the vote from both party members and party-affiliated organisations, and it is thought that the second-choice votes of the Cruddas supporters contributed to Harriet Harman's eventual victory. After his campaign, he was offered a position in the Cabinet by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which he turned down.

Despite being touted by some media sources as a potential candidate for the Leadership of the Labour Party in the future, he ruled himself out of the 2010 leadership election, saying that he did not want the job but instead wanted to influence policy.[2] In 2012, Cruddas was appointed to Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet, replacing Liam Byrne as Labour Party Policy Coordinator.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Cruddas was born in Helston to John, a sailor, and Pat, who hails from Donegal in Ireland.[4] Cruddas was educated at the Oaklands Roman Catholic Comprehensive School in Waterlooville, Portsmouth, before attending the University of Warwick where he graduated with an M.A. and later a Ph.D. in Industrial and Business Studies in 1991, writing a thesis entitled An analysis of value theory, the sphere of production and contemporary approaches to the reorganisation of workplace relations.[5] He was subsequently a Visiting Fellow of the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1987 to 1989.

Early career[edit]

In 1989, he became a policy officer for the Labour Party before being appointed Senior Assistant to Labour Party General Secretary Larry Whitty in 1994, remaining in that position when Tom Sawyer became General Secretary that same year. After the 1997 election, he was employed as Deputy Political Secretary to new Prime Minister Tony Blair. His main role was to be a liaison between the Prime Minister and the trade unions, with whom Blair had often had a difficult relationship. In this role, he also worked heavily on the introduction of the minimum wage.

Political career[edit]

Cruddas was selected to be the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the safe Labour seat of Dagenham in 2000, after incumbent MP Judith Church announced that she would be retiring. He was elected as the new MP for Dagenham one year later at the 2001 election, with a majority of 8,693.

From the backbenches, Cruddas quickly became a vocal critic of the government for what he saw as their ignoring of their traditional, working-class support in a bid to woo middle-class voters.[6] He rebelled against the government on a number of occasions, including on the introduction of university top-up fees, the legislation on asylum seekers, the introduction of trust schools, proposals to renew the UK Trident nuclear weapons system, and foundation trusts.[7][8][9][10] He also vocally supported both the Fourth Option for direct investment in council housing and the Trade Union Freedom Bill.[11]

After being re-elected at the 2005 election, Dagenham was abolished for the 2010 election. Cruddas chose to fight the newly created seat of Dagenham and Rainham, which was notionally marginal. He won the seat by 2,630 votes in a close-run election campaign, which was notable for being a seat that the far-right British National Party had heavily targeted. This resulted in a large number of anti-fascist organisations not affiliated to the Labour Party, such as Hope not Hate, campaigning for Cruddas in order to resist the challenge from the BNP. After winning re-election, Cruddas took up a part-time position teaching Labour history at University College, Oxford from 2010 to 2012.[12]

Deputy leadership election[edit]

On 27 September 2006, Cruddas announced his intention to stand to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party once the incumbent, John Prescott, stood down.[13] He said that unlike the other candidates for the position he did not want to be Deputy Prime Minister, but instead wished to act as a "transmission belt" with the grassroots of the party.[14] In interviews, Cruddas also said that he did not want the "trappings or baubles" that would potentially come with the job of Deputy Prime Minister, such as use of the Dorneywood weekend country residence.[15]

Cruddas accrued nominations from 49 MPs and received strong union backing, including Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union.[16][17] He also received backing from former Deputy Leader Roy Hattersley,[18] Mayor of London Ken Livingstone,[19] NUS President Gemma Tumelty, and former National Executive Committee member, actor and presenter Tony Robinson.[20] The left-wing magazine Tribune endorsed him as "the change that is required".[21]

On 24 June 2007, it was announced that Harriet Harman had won the election, although Cruddas gained the highest proportion of votes in the first round. He was ultimately eliminated in the fourth round of voting, coming third behind Harman and Alan Johnson. He had secured the highest number of votes from members of affiliated organisation in every round before his elimination.

Policy Review Coordinator[edit]

On 15 May 2012, Labour Leader Ed Miliband offered Cruddas a position in his Shadow Cabinet as Labour's Policy Coordinator, with a view to crafting Labour's manifesto for the next election. Cruddas accepted the offer, saying that it had always been his wish to influence policy.[22]

Political views[edit]

Cruddas speaking alongside Adam Boulton at a Policy Exchange event in 2012

Cruddas's deputy leadership challenge was based on the precepts contained in a pamphlet called 'Fit for purpose: A programme for Labour Party renewal', co-authored with journalist John Harris and funded by the pressure group Compass.[23] Cruddas won a Compass membership poll in March 2007, gaining 53% of first preference votes among the deputy leadership candidates.[24] In terms of his relative position within the Labour Party, newspapers have described Cruddas as "left wing",[25] however he has also been described as "modernising centre-left",[26] and more recently has become associated with the socially conservative Blue Labour tendency and has formed a political partnership with James Purnell.[27] He has also described himself as "mistaken" over his decision to vote for British participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and has criticised his party's record on immigration, saying that "we had too many people coming too fast", and that "immigration has been used as a 21st century incomes policy, and protections in terms of the labour market have not been substantial enough."[28][29] He has stated that his political hero is former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating.[12]

After speculation that the Roman Catholic Cruddas was in favour of restricting abortion, he re-affirmed his pro-choice position.[30] In an interview concerning Cruddas' faith, he stated "in our family the political heroes weren’t Gaitskell or Bevan. They were the Kennedys because they were Irish, there was Oscar Romero because liberation theology was quite a big thing, and Pope John. So I joined the Labour Party, and my brother joined the Carmelites. The Labour Party always seemed to me to be a rational, natural element within some of those things we were brought up to believe in. It was as simple as that. My family was part of the Diaspora, they were all over the world, and again that returned to certain issues of solidarity. So there was always that seamless thing between faith and political agency, and union activity as well, forged out of the politics of Irish immigration".[31]

The Times Guide to the House of Commons describes him as "a well-liked and well-respected left winger who took on the BNP and won".[32]

Personal life[edit]

He married Labour activist Anna Mary Healy in 1992, and they have one son.[33] His wife works as an assistant for Harriet Harman, and had previously worked for Labour MPs Jack Cunningham, Mo Mowlam and Gus Macdonald. Cruddas lives in Notting Hill. Cruddas was banned from driving for 8 weeks for driving with no MOT or insurance in October 2012.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Greaves (14 May 2010). "Election ushers in new Catholic MPs". London: Catholic Herald. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  2. ^ "Labour leader: Runners and riders". BBC News. 20 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Cruddas gets policy brief in shadow cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 15 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Watt, Nicholas (17 May 2012). "Jon Cruddas: the philosopher at the heart of Labour's policy planning". The Guardian (London). 
  5. ^ [1] Modern Records centre, University of Warwick.
  6. ^ Labour 'ignoring working classes' BBC News, 25 September 2005
  7. ^ The Labour rebels on tuition fees BBC News, 27 January 2004
  8. ^ Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill — Clause 43 — Accommodation — 29 Mar 2006 at 17:00 — Commons Division No. 205 The Public Whip
  9. ^ The Labour rebels on Trident replacement BBC News, 14 March 2007
  10. ^ Labour contender calls for halt to privatisation in NHS The Guardian, 21 May 2007
  11. ^ EDM 532 Trade Union Freedom Bill Campaign PIMS, 18 December 2006
  12. ^ a b Watt, Nicholas (17 May 2012). "Jon Cruddas: the philosopher at the heart of Labour's policy planning". The Guardian (London). 
  13. ^ "Cruddas to stand for deputy leadership" The Guardian, 27 September 2006
  14. ^ Interview: Jon Cruddas BBC News, 2 March 2007
  15. ^ "Jon Cruddas: You Ask The Questions" The Independent, 7 May 2007
  16. ^ Union chief backing Cruddas bid BBC News, 9 March 2007
  17. ^ Choose change: Vote Cruddas TGWU.org
  18. ^ Jon Cruddas Gains Momentum With Hattersley Endorsement CCNMatthews, 19 May 2007
  19. ^ Ken Livingstone and Unite back Jon Cruddas for deputy leader JonCruddas.org.uk, 18 May 2007
  20. ^ Tony Robinson backs Jon Cruddas JonCruddas.org.uk, 9 May 2007
  21. ^ Leader column from Tribune, JonCruddas.org.uk, 11 May 2007
  22. ^ Watt, Nicholas (17 May 2012). "Jon Cruddas: the philosopher at the heart of Labour's policy planning". The Guardian (London). 
  23. ^ "77504" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  24. ^ Members of Compass overwhelmingly vote to support Jon Cruddas for Labour Deputy Leader Compass, 7 March 2007
  25. ^ For Labour flavour, who will be deputy is the top tussle Financial Times, 26 February 2007 (republished on JonCruddas.org.uk)
  26. ^ Labour's lost its moral purpose, warns Cruddas The Telegraph, 14 April 2007
  27. ^ "David Goodhart: Labour can have its own coalition too". The Independent (London). 20 March 2011. 
  28. ^ "Prospect Magazine interview". Prospectmagazine.co.uk. 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  29. ^ Ministers urge Brown to launch Iraq inquiry The Independent, 19 May 2007
  30. ^ Compass Youth interviews Jon Cruddas Compass Youth, 30 October 2006
  31. ^ "Christian Socialist Movement : Interview with Jon Cruddas MP". Thecsm.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  32. ^ The Times Guide to the House of Commons 2010, p 145
  33. ^ "Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984-2006". Findmypast.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  34. ^ "Labour Jon Cruddas MP banned from driving". BBC News. 26 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Judith Church
Member of Parliament
for Dagenham and Rainham

2001–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Liam Byrne
Labour Party Policy Coordinator
2012–present
Incumbent