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John Ryman QC (born 7 November 1930) is a former British Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) who sat as an independent MP for his last year in the House of Commons.

Ryman was a barrister and a fox-hunter. He was elected MP for Blyth in the October 1974 general election, ousting the incumbent Eddie Milne (who had been re-elected as an Independent Labour MP at the February 1974 election after being deselected as the official Labour candidate). The campaign was a dirty one and in 1976 Ryman's agent Peter Mortakis was sent to jail for submitting fraudulent election expenses.

In a close Parliament, Ryman's frequent absences from Parliament (either to continue his legal work or for other reasons) tried the patience of the whips. On one celebrated occasion the Chief Whip Bob Mellish went on the radio to ask listeners to get in touch if they had spotted him. Ryman had previously been married to Shirley Summerskill who was a fellow Labour MP, but they had divorced by the time he entered Parliament alongside her. He was married five times in all.

When the German Social Democrat Helmut Schmidt urged the Labour Party to support British membership of the EEC, Ryman responded with "Why should this patronising Hun lecture the British Labour Party?".[1]

Ryman held off a strong challenge from Milne in the 1979 general election, holding his seat with a majority of over 7,000.[2] The constituency was renamed Blyth Valley for the 1983 general election, when the newly-formed Social Democratic Party (SDP) cut his majority to 3,243.[3]

In 1986, he announced that he was leaving the Labour Party and sat as an independent until he retired at the 1987 general election. His successor was Ronnie Campbell.

On April 23, 1992 Ryman was convicted of defrauding two women of their life savings. He had pretended to be the Director of a Swiss bank and told the women that they would get 22·5% interest, but in fact paid the money to his ex-wife for maintenance payments. Ryman was given a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence.

Notes

  1. ^ Phillip Whitehead, The Writing on the Wall (London: Michael Joseph, 1985), p. 135.
  2. ^ 1979 General election results
  3. ^ 1983 General election results

References

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Eddie Milne
Member of Parliament for Blyth
19741983
constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Blyth Valley
19831987
Succeeded by
Ronnie Campbell
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