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8 April 2014updated 09 Jun 2021 8:13am

The Returning Officer: Soapboxes

By Stephen Brasher

Charles “Jim” Simmons was Labour MP for Brierley Hill (1950-59), having been MP for Birmingham Erdington (1929-31) and Birmingham West (1945-50). During the First World War, he served in Egypt, Gallipoli and France, where he lost a leg at the battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. He was one of 40 Primitive Methodist MPs in the history of parliament. His 1971 autobiography was called Soapbox Evangelist.

The New Zealand Labour MP John A Lee served with the Wellington infantry regiment, winning the DCM in 1917; he had an arm amputated the next year after being wounded at Mailly-Maillet. He was elected for Auckland East (1922-28) and Grey Lynn (1931-43) but was expelled in 1940 for criticising the dying Labour PM Michael Savage. His 1963 memoir was called Simple on a Soapbox.

 

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