Bob Cryer

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Person.png Bob Cryer MP   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Bob Cryer.jpg
BornGeorge Robert Cryer
3 December 1934
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died12 April 1994 (Age 59)
Alma materUniversity of Hull
English Labour Party politician from Yorkshire

Bob Cryer was an English Labour Party politician from Yorkshire who sat in the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Keighley from 1974 to until his defeat in 1983.

Cryer then served as the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Sheffield from 1984 to 1989, and returned to the Commons as MP for Bradford South from 1987 until his death, aged 59, in a car crash in 1994.[1]

Early life

Born in Bradford, Bob Cryer was educated at Salt High School, Shipley, and the University of Hull. He worked as a teacher and lecturer.[2]

After British Railways closed the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway line in 1962, Cryer was one of a group of people who formed the KWVR Preservation Society, which bought the line and reopened it. As the society's first chairman, he helped to facilitate the shooting of the film "The Railway Children" on the line in the summer of 1970 and had a small part in it, as a guard.

Political career

Bob Cryer first stood for Parliament at Darwen in United Kingdom General Election, 1964, but was defeated by the incumbent Conservative Party MP, Charles Fletcher-Cooke.

Cryer was elected the Labour Member of Parliament for Keighley from 1974 to 1983 and represented Bradford South from 1987 until his death in a road traffic accident on 12 April 1994 when he was 59. He was the MEP for Sheffield from 1984 until 1989.

At the start of the Queen's Speech debate on 21 November 1989 – the first time the House of Commons was televised – Cryer raised a point of order on the subject of access to the House, denying the Conservative MP Ian Gow, who was to move the 'Loyal Address' to the Speech from the Throne, the accolade of being the first MP (apart from the Speaker, Bernard Weatherill) to speak in the Commons on TV.

Cryer supported a number of left-wing causes and was also a Eurosceptic.


Extract from Tam Dalyell's eulogy:

"Bob Cryer had enormous parliamentary stamina and was one of the late-night sentinels of the House of Commons. No governmental short-cut, no ministerial sleight of hand would go through unspotted when Cryer was on duty. And he was on duty most of the time and most of the hours when the House of Commons was sitting.
"Yet as his friend Dennis Skinner said last night: 'Bob Cryer was a committed socialist and a full-time committed socialist in and out of the House of Commons. Certainly he was one of a rare breed who could make a relevant extempore speech at the drop of a hat.' Skinner added that whenever one needed an ally for an unpopular cause Cryer was there. And it was my own personal experience that when I was in parliamentary trouble, and in adversity, Cryer was a stalwart friend."[3]

In July 2017, John Goss remembered:

I have just re-read John Cryer's tribute to father Bob in "Boldness Be My Friend".[4] Bob Cryer taught us General Studies at Blackburn Tech. when I was an apprentice toolmaker. He was a bright man and was an enthusiast for old cars. He and my dad both had Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphires (a rarity in that part of Lancashire). Several years later when I visited him in the House of Commons he recalled the fact. A good man, like Jeremy Corbyn, an honest politician (a rarity anywhere in the world).[5]

Convenient death crash

Bob Cryer died in a car accident on 12 April 1994 when the Rover he was driving to London overturned on the M1 motorway near Junction 5 at Watford. His wife Ann survived the crash.[6] In July 2013, John Goss wrote an article entitled "Don't get on a plane with somebody famous!":

"The number of famous people who die in plane crashes is alarming. After making a comment on Craig Murray's blog, based simply on the huge number of famous people who have died in crashes, I was challenged to provide figures. My comment related to the death of Michael Hastings the American investigative journalist whose car exploded and who was working on some sensitive revelations at the time. I wrote:
"As to deaths in crashes public figures are much more likely to die than ordinary individuals. It does need some thorough research but Hastings’ death was convenient, to say the least, for those he was investigating. Likewise Bob Cryer’s death was convenient for the US military at Menwith Hill.[7] How dare Bob Cryer, an English MP, criticise the US for having a base on English soil without parliamentary approval?"[8]

Labour family

His wife Ann Cryer was Labour MP for Keighley between 1997 and 2010, and their son John Cryer, the Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, is currently chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party.[9] John Cryer's wife Ellie Reeves is Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge and his sister-in-law Rachel Reeves is Labour MP for Leeds West.


  • The Railway Children (1970) - Train Guard (uncredited)


External links

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