Clegg praises Reeves as “an inspiration to a generation”

Maurice Reeves showing Nick Clegg the storyboard hoardings at Reeves Corner in Croydon earlier this year

In his keynote speech to his Liberal Democrats’ annual conference, Nick Clegg spoke with generous praise for Maurice Reeves, the senior member of the family-run Reeves furniture business in Croydon which was nearly destroyed by fire during the 8/8 riots last year.

Maurice Reeves, who has long been a Liberal party supporter, was  seated carefully in the front row of the audience in Brighton for the LibDem party leader’s speech, alongside Miriam Clegg, the leader’s wife.

There, he heard the Deputy Prime Minister say, “Your example should inspire a generation.”

The conference responded to Clegg’s remark by giving Reeves rapturous applause.

Clegg’s briefing for his speech was not 100 per cent correct. He referred erroneously to the business having to open in a new building. Clegg was correct, though, in talking about a plastering of the building with positive messages from young people in a publicity initiative by vInspired and UKDoSomething one year after the riots in an effort to show that the young are a credit to society.

The phoenix rising from the ashes reference clearly had a double meaning for the LibDems, whose latest national opinion poll rating stands at 9 per cent. That represents something of a minor improvement: the Conservatives’ coalition partners are now back to the same level as UKIP.

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1 Response to Clegg praises Reeves as “an inspiration to a generation”

  1. I’ve spotted this story in several places, including the local Croydon press. Well done to Inside Croydon for pointing out the inaccuracies. Nick Clegg’s speech implied that Reeves re-opened, one year on, in new premises, which is clearly well short of the truth. In fact Reeves was up and running the morning after that fateful night, via the internet, and still retaining the premises that were plastered in these messages, one year on.

    Those on London Road, many of whom not only lost their businesses but their homes and possessions, have been repeatedly overlooked by the media. Many were in their homes and business premises when the trouble kicked off. Some were physically attacked on that night defending their property. Many are not so lucky to have a roof over their head or a viable business to run to support themselves as their entire livelihood, business, possessions and all were razed to the ground and they still await adequate compensation, more than a year on. There really should be more focus on this.

    I hope the newly formed West Croydon Community Forum finally gives this community the voice and attention they deserve. They have not only been left unsupported but overlooked in the regeneration plans. The gaudy hoarding erected along the London Road surely just rub salt in their wounds.

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