Jon Cruddas

Jonathan Cruddas[1] (born 7 April 1962) is a British Labour Party politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Dagenham and Rainham, and formerly for Dagenham, since 2001.

Jon Cruddas

Cruddas in 2020
Policy Coordinator of the Labour Party
In office
15 May 2012  11 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byLiam Byrne
Member of Parliament
for Dagenham and Rainham
Dagenham (2001–2010)
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byJudith Church
Majority293 (0.7%)
Personal details
Born (1962-04-07) 7 April 1962 (age 59)
Helston, Cornwall, England
Political partyLabour
(m. 1992)
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
WebsiteOfficial website

A graduate of the University of Warwick, Cruddas was first elected to Parliament at the 2001 general election. Having been critical of many aspects of the Blair government, he stood for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party in 2007, although he openly stated he did not wish to become Deputy Prime Minister. Despite winning the most votes in the first round of voting, he was eliminated in the penultimate round of the contest.

Cruddas ruled himself out of the 2010 leadership election, saying he would rather influence policy. In 2012, Cruddas was appointed to Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet, replacing Liam Byrne as Policy Coordinator.

Early life and education

Cruddas was born in Helston, Cornwall to John, a sailor, and Pat (a native of County Donegal, Ireland).[2] Cruddas was educated at the Oaklands Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, Waterlooville, Portsmouth, before attending the University of Warwick where he ultimately received an M.A. and 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.[3] He was a Visiting Fellow of the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1987 to 1989.

Cruddas is a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford (2016–present), and is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Leicester (2016–present), primarily involved with the Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures.[4]

Early career

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 general election, he was employed as Deputy Political Secretary to newly elected 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

Cruddas in 2017

Cruddas was selected to be the prospective parliamentary candidate for the safe Labour seat of Dagenham in 2000, after the sitting MP Judith Church announced that she would be retiring. He was elected as the MP for Dagenham the following year at the 2001 general election, with a majority of 8,693 votes.

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 be more appealing to middle-class voters.[5] 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.[6][7][8][9] He supported both the Fourth Option for direct investment in council housing and the Trade Union Freedom Bill.[10]

Cruddas was re-elected at the 2005 general election, but his Dagenham constituency was abolished in boundary changes for the 2010 general election. Cruddas chose to contest the newly created constituency of Dagenham and Rainham, which was notionally marginal. He won the seat by 2,630 votes in a close-run election campaign, which was a seat that the 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 to resist the BNP. After being successfully elected, he took up a part-time position teaching Labour history at University College, Oxford from 2010 to 2012.[11]

Deputy leadership election

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.[12] He said he did not want to be Deputy Prime Minister, but instead wished to act as a "transmission belt" with the grassroots of the party.[13] 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.[14]

Cruddas accrued nominations from 49 MPs and received strong union backing, including Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union.[15] He received backing from former Deputy Leader Roy Hattersley,[16] then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone,[17] NUS President Gemma Tumelty, and former National Executive Committee member, actor and presenter Tony Robinson.[18] The left-wing magazine Tribune endorsed him as "the change that is required".[19]

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.[citation needed]

Policy Review Coordinator

Touted by some media sources as a potential candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, he ruled himself out of the 2010 leadership election and said he did not want the job; but instead wanted to influence policy.[20] In 2012, Cruddas was appointed to Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet, replacing Liam Byrne as Labour Party Policy Coordinator.[21]

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 2015 general election. Cruddas accepted the offer, saying that it had always been his wish to influence policy.[11]

The Future of Work Commission

The Future of Work Commission was announced at the 2016 Labour Party Annual Conference in Liverpool. The goal of the commission is to make a set of achievable policy recommendations, which will be delivered in a report in September 2017 at Labour Annual Conference in Brighton. Jon Cruddas MP is one of the Commissioners working on the project.[22]

Since 2018

Cruddas narrowly retained his seat at the 2019 general election, with a hugely reduced majority, winning by 293 votes over the Conservative candidate.[23] He supported Lisa Nandy for Labour Leader in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.[24]

The Dignity of Labour

The Dignity of Labour is Jon Cruddas MP's debut book, published by Polity on 16 April 2021.

"In this erudite and highly readable book, Jon Cruddas MP argues that it is imperative that the Left rejects the siren call of technological determinism and roots it politics firmly in the workplace. Drawing from his experience of his own Dagenham and Rainham constituency, he examines the history of Marxist and social democratic thinking about work in order to critique the fatalism of both Blairism and radical left techno-utopianism, which, he contends, have more in common than either would like to admit. He argues that, especially in the context of COVID-19, socialists must embrace an ethical socialist politics based on the dignity and agency of the labour interest.This timely book is a brilliant intervention in the highly contentious debate on the future of work, as well as an ambitious account of how the left must rediscover its animating purpose or risk irrelevance." Polity Books 2021

Since its release Jon has taken part in a number of promotional events and discussions around the themes covered in the book. His interview in The Observer is of note and provides a brief overview of 'The Dignity of Labour' which can be purchased via Guardian Books among other booksellers.

Political views

Cruddas (left) 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.[25] Cruddas won a Compass membership poll in March 2007, gaining 53% of first preference votes among the deputy leadership candidates.[26] In terms of his relative position within the Labour Party, newspapers have described Cruddas as "left wing";[27] however, he has also been described as "modernising centre-left",[28] and more recently has become associated with the socially conservative Blue Labour tendency and has formed a political partnership with James Purnell.[29] He 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."[30][31]

After speculation that Cruddas, a Catholic, was in favour of restricting abortion, he re-affirmed his pro-choice position.[32] 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 Óscar 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".[33]

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".[34]

Jon Cruddas was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[35] However, he later supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[36]

He is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.[37]

Personal life

Cruddas married Labour activist Anna Healy (now Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill) in 1992; the couple have one son, Emmett Cruddas.[38] His wife worked as a special adviser to Harriet Harman, and had previously worked for Labour MPs Jack Cunningham, Mo Mowlam and Gus Macdonald. He lives in Notting Hill.[citation needed]

In October 2012, Cruddas was banned from driving for eight weeks, for driving with no MOT or insurance.[39]

Selected bibliography


  • Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford, Jonathan (2008). The crash: a view from the left. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015. Pdf.
  • Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford, Jonathan; Laws, David; Clark, Greg (2009). Equality in the UK. London: CentreForum. ISBN 9781902622736.
  • Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford, Jonathan (2009), "Return to society", in Harrington, Peter; Burks, Beatrice Karol (eds.), What next for Labour? Ideas for progressive left: a collection of essays, Demos, pp. 19–24, ISBN 9781906693176.
  • Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford, Jonathan (2010), "The common table", in Williams, Rowan; Elliott, Larry (eds.), Crisis and recovery ethics, economics and justice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 54–76, ISBN 9780230252141.
  • Cruddas, Jon; Rutherford, Jonathan (2011), "Common life ethics, class, community", in Pabst, Adrian (ed.), The crisis of global capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical and the future of political economy, Oregon, USA: Wipf and Stock Publishers, pp. 237–254, ISBN 9781608993680.
  • Cruddas, John (2015), "The Common Good in an Age of Austerity", in Geary, Ian; Pabst, Adrian (eds.), Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics, London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 87–95, ISBN 9781784532024.

Journal articles

News articles


  1. "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11776.
  2. Watt, Nicholas (17 May 2012). "Jon Cruddas: the philosopher at the heart of Labour's policy planning". The Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  3. Modern Records centre, University of Warwick.
  4. Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures Archived 9 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. Labour 'ignoring working classes' Archived 13 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine BBC News, 25 September 2005
  6. The Labour rebels on tuition fees Archived 19 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine BBC News, 27 January 2004
  7. Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill — Clause 43 — Accommodation — Commons Division No. 205 Archived 5 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 8 May 2015.
  8. "The Labour rebels on Trident replacement" Archived 22 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, 14 March 2007.
  9. "Labour contender calls for halt to privatisation in NHS", The Guardian, 21 May 2007
  10. EDM 532 Trade Union Freedom Bill Campaign Archived 20 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine,, 18 December 2006.
  11. Watt, Nicholas (17 May 2012). "Jon Cruddas: the philosopher at the heart of Labour's policy planning". The Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on 21 April 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  12. "Cruddas to stand for deputy leadership" Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine,, 27 September 2006.
  13. Interview: Jon Cruddas Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine BBC News, 2 March 2007
  14. "Jon Cruddas: You Ask The Questions" Archived 12 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine,, 7 May 2007.
  15. Union chief backing Cruddas bid Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine BBC News, 9 March 2007
  16. Jon Cruddas Gains Momentum With Hattersley Endorsement CCNMatthews, 19 May 2007
  17. Ken Livingstone and Unite back Jon Cruddas for deputy leader Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 18 May 2007
  18. Tony Robinson backs Jon Cruddas Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 9 May 2007
  19. Leader column Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine from Tribune,, 11 May 2007
  20. "Labour leader: Runners and riders". BBC News. 20 July 2010.
  21. "Cruddas gets policy brief in shadow cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  22. The Future of Work Commission Archived 31 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  23. Cox, Sophie (13 December 2019). "General Election 2019: Labour's Jon Cruddas wins Dagenham and Rainham by 293 votes". Barking and Dagenham Post. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  24. "Here are the 23 MPs backing Wigan's Lisa Nandy in the Labour Party leadership contest". Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  25. "77504" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  26. Members of Compass overwhelmingly vote to support Jon Cruddas for Labour Deputy Leader Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Compass, 7 March 2007
  27. "For Labour flavour, who will be deputy is the top tussle" Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Financial Times. London. 26 February 2007 (republished on
  28. "Labour's lost its moral purpose, warns Cruddas". The Telegraph. London. 14 April 2007.
  29. "David Goodhart: Labour can have its own coalition too". The Independent. London. 20 March 2011. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  30. "Prospect Magazine interview". 14 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  31. "Ministers urge Brown to launch Iraq inquiry".Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Independent. 19 May 2007.
  32. Compass Youth interviews Jon Cruddas Archived 23 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine,, 30 October 2006.
  33. "Christian Socialist Movement: Interview with Jon Cruddas MP". Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  34. The Times Guide to the House of Commons 2010, pg. 145
  35. "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. London. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  36. "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  37. "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  38. "Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984–2006". Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  39. "Labour Jon Cruddas MP banned from driving". BBC News. 26 October 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.