Debbie Abrahams is the Labour candidate for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. She also stood in the Colne Valley constituency at the general election in May.
Answering questions on the Examiner website at the time, Abrahams said:
I live in Longwood with my husband John. I used to live in Newhey – six miles away.
I do think it is important to live in the constituency you wish to represent to be part of that community and that’s why I moved!
She also stated that she lived in Longwood, in the Colne Valley constituency, in her election leaflets. I must say however I think this was a little misleading.
When she talks about living in Longwood having previously lived in Newhey, I would think most people would assume that meant she had sold her home in Newhey and purchased a property in Longwood or some similar arrangement. I suspect the reality is rather different however.
It is with great interest that I note that the home address she has given for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election is the same as that which she gave in 2008 when she was a candidate in a local election.
Since she wasn’t living in the Colne Valley in June 2009, apparently planning to do so “as soon as possible”, did she manage to sell her property in Newhey and move to Longwood by April this year, then move back to the same house in Newhey by now? Obviously not.
I would suggest that it in all probability she was simply renting a flat in Quarry Bank Mill, Longwood, whilst Newhay remained her main home. Cllr David Ridgway’s comments that she appeared briefly on the electoral register in the Colne Valley from January through May would seem to support this theory.
On this basis you might want reconsider her comments to the Examiner. Was she being completely honest when she said that she “used to live in Newhey” and had moved to live in the Colne Valley?
UPDATE (13 January)
The Telegraph have reported that “Sources close to Mrs Abrahams told The Times the candidate’s family home was in Newhey, but that she had rented a flat in Longwood for part of last year.” This would seems to confirm my theory.