PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
His problems began when rumours started spreading that he and his family had rocked up at their very expensive holiday home at Rhoscolyn on Ynys Môn. Social media was soon a-buzz with the story.
Prompting his colleague, the new Tory MP for the island, Virginia Crosbie, to step in and defend her boy.
There was nothing to see here, she insisted, because Jake Berry lived in Rhoscolyn. “A few people have been in touch with me regarding the MP Jake Berry living here in the island. Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home”.
So that’s OK then.
It means that the MP for a Lancashire constituency lives 130 miles away near Holyhead. I wonder how the electors of Rossendale and Darwen would have voted if they’d known that fact before they re-elected him last December.
Perhaps what Ms Crosbie meant to say was explained when a spokesperson on behalf of Mr Berry said: “During a visit to Wales, a family member of Mr Berry started showing signs of Coronavirus. This visit was prior to the Government decision to lockdown.”
So putting together the contributions from Ms Crosbie and the spokesperson, perhaps we should conclude that the Berry family was on Ynys Môn in February when Mrs Berry was taken ill, perhaps one of the children was also unwell, so they all stayed put.
So why did no one notice them until a couple of days ago?
Lockdown was announced on 23 March. But on 29 March the Lancashire Telegraph reported that Berry had been to inspect local landmark Darwen Tower. Though on his Facebook page Berry was keen to point out that the visit was made on the 13th, prior to lockdown.
Two points are worth making. First, we are expected to believe that the Lancashire Telegraph sat on this story for two weeks and then published it as ‘News’. Second, Berry is reported to have had his dog with him. So if Virginia Crosbie is correct, and Berry was living at Rhoscolyn, he took the poor mutt on a 260 mile round trip.
But a few days later, on 3 April, Berry himself put out what you see below. So either he was in his constituency, as the message ‘Lovely to see this up in #Darwen’ suggests, or else it was posted from Rhoscolyn, making it a deliberate attempt to deceive his constituents into believing that he was there among them.
But if, as his defenders insist, he has been living at Rhoscolyn since February, then he could only have reached Darwen by breaking the lockdown rules.
The consistent line in all the reports I’ve read says that he was visiting relatives when a member of his family fell ill. This makes a certain sense because Berry’s wife gave birth on or just before 11 February. It would have been natural to have taken the new arrival to be seen by Berry’s parents, who do live at Rhoscolyn.
And then they went home.
In fact, Jake himself is quite the property tycoon; for he either owns outright or has a share in four properties around Rhoscolyn. As his Declaration of Interests makes clear.
One of the shared properties is the one his parents live in.
UPDATE: I did not identify this property when writing the article because my information was that his parents lived there permanently. But now I’m told that Cerrig is used by Berry’s parents as a holiday home.
So if it’s true that Jake Berry, his wife and children, travelled to Rhoscolyn in February to meet with family, then it suggests that his parents were already there staying at their holiday home.
The latest addition to the portfolio, and the property in which the Berry family may, or may not, live, is Rhyd-y-Bont farm, for which Jake paid £780,000, cash down, last November. It even has its own coastline.
Another property he owns is Plas Coch. If I’m reading the title document and the women in his life correctly, then he owns this property jointly with his mother and his ex-wife. Which must be a bundle of laughs. But again, this property was also paid for in readies, £249,000 in May 2017.
As I’ve said, Jake Berry is a non-practising solicitor, and as far as I can see there are no directorships or other sources of income. So either there’s family money or else he makes his MP’s salary go a long, long way.
Having mentioned Plas Coch, my man in the bushes tells me that no lights have been seen there in the evening. Though there is a car parked, a silver Volvo XC70. Funny thing is that the MOT on this vehicle expired in January 2019. And the tax ran out in March last year.
So if it’s parked up then it needs a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), but I’m told it doesn’t have one.
Though Jake’s brother is reported to have lived at Plas Coch for a while. Is the car his?
And can anyone identify the fourth property Jake Berry owns on Ynys Môn?
The evidence suggests that the Berry family visited in February with the baby, went back to Lancashire, and turned up again a few days ago after Boris Johnson’s garbled message about staying alert.
I cannot believe that the Berry family is living permanently at Rhyd-y-Bont. It would be too risky. Some local shit-stirrer back in Lancashire would almost certainly find out and our boy would be in trouble.
Though if they are living at Rhyd-y-Bont then, when things get back to normal Jake Berry will be catching the Holyhead to London train on a Monday and making the return trip on Thursday evening or Friday. So when will he find time for his constituency? Or if he spends weekends in his constituency, when will he see his missus and the sprogs?
Alternatively, if it is a holiday home, £780,000 is a hell of a lot to pay. Insulting to the local Welsh people being priced out of the market by people like the Berry clan.
Finally. I’ve just remembered that there is no London property shown in his Declaration of Interests, so where does he live when Parliament is sitting?
The bigger issue here of course is holiday homes. Holiday homes in Wales owned by people who have no connection with our country other than the exploitative and parasitic relationship provided by the property they own.
In this pandemic, the issue has come to the fore in ways I would not have believed possible. There is palpable anger directed at holiday homes and those who own them.
Only yesterday we read that police had to ask a Liverpool family to leave their holiday home in Llandegfan, on the other side of Ynys Môn, for their own safety. This report in NorthWalesLive gives the impression of a crowd of yokels brandishing pitchforks.
Feelings are running high everywhere. But what else can be expected?
Nothing really, because tourism encourages contempt for us and our identity. Wales doesn’t really belong to us, it’s theirs to take and do with as they wish. So come to Wales . . . swamp our communities, ridicule our language, change our ancient place names, and pay £780,000 for a holiday home.
Tourism and the colonisation that always follows has given us areas of our country where we Welsh are in a minority. A constantly diminishing minority. Every year more and more communities cease to be Welsh because of tourism.
There has never been a better time for politicians to get to grips with the problem of holiday homes, but they are too cowardly to grasp the opportunity. Those weaklings in Corruption Bay refuse to give police the authority to make people leave holiday homes and won’t even increase the fine for disobeying lockdown.
In Wales it stays at £60 but in England – where restrictions have been eased! – fines start at £100.
Holiday homes are inseparable from tourism. A tourism industry that is overwhelmingly foreign owned and of little or no benefit to us Welsh. The few benefits more than outweighed by the damage caused.
We have learnt a great lesson during this pandemic – the power of community resistance. When it’s over we must continue refusing to accept holiday homes and saturation tourism.
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