The Returning Officer: Abingdon II

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Edward Albert Lessing was MP for Abingdon (1923-24). His uncle Edward Strauss had been the first Liberal MP for the seat (1906-10) and both were involved in the family grain and seed business of Strauss & Company. Lessing served in the Grenadier Guards during the First World War, rising to acting captain. In August 1918, he was in Petrograd when the British embassy was stormed by the Cheka, who killed the naval attaché Francis Cromie.

In 1924, he published a pamphlet arguing against the Labour government’s plan to establish trade links with the Soviet Union. The matter was debated in parliament. Lessing, questioned by Tory MPs, said that Cromie had fired first.

This article appears in the 25 June 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Who was Franz Ferdinand?

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