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Ipswich: Borough council election battle steps up a gear

11:56 23 April 2014

This year

This year's elections for the borough council will be held on the same day as the European poll.

Archant

Local politicians have put Easter behind them – and are now preparing for May’s local elections in Ipswich as well as those for the European parliament across the country.

Ipswich is the only council in Suffolk to be holding local elections this year – and the poll is later than usual because of the European contest.

Instead of being held on the first Thursday of the month (May 1) it will be held on the fourth Thursday (May 22).

Just over a third of the borough is up for election – and it is inconceivable that Labour will lose power at Grafton House.

The party has such a large majority (18 seats) that it would need to lose all 10 seats it is defending to be forced into opposition. That is not going to happen!

In fact Labour is confident of increasing its majority at the borough. Three wards – Whitton, Stoke Park, and Rushmere – are being defended by the Tories but the other two councillors there are now Labour.

In Rushmere outgoing Tory councillor Judy Terry is not re-standing, and Whitton Tory councillor – and former group leader – Chris Stewart has switched to the neighbouring Castle Hill ward that is much safer for the Conservatives.

In Stoke Park deputy Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci is fighting a rearguard action to try to defend her seat – but Labour remains favourite to take the seat.

Labour is also targeting the Holywells ward where Conservative councillor, and local butcher, George Debman is hoping for re-election.

Two years ago the result was “too close for comfort” for fellow Conservative – and now group leader – Liz Harsant as Pam Stewart retained the seat for the party, and Labour is hopeful of capturing that seat this time.

The Liberal Democrats have not done well in Ipswich over recent years, but Inga Lockington has a strong personal vote in St Margaret’s Ward and it would be something of a surprise if she lost.

As well as the 16 seats up for election as part of the normal cycle, there is also a by-election in the Alexandra Ward after Labour councillor Harvey Crane stepped down because of work and family commitments.

If this were a “normal” election, Labour would be expecting to see its majority increase by winning Whitton, Stoke Park, Rushmere, and possibly Holywells Ward.

However the fact that the poll is taking place on the same day as the European elections has introduced a new element to the campaign that the traditional parties are struggling to assess.

What will be the impact of UKIP candidates on the Ipswich council vote.

In last year’s county council elections UKIP caused a major surprise by winning one of the two seats in the Whitehouse and Whitton division. It also came within a whisker of winning the by-election in the Whitehouse Ward on the same day.

UKIP does well in European elections. Opinion polls suggest that this year it could finish top of the national poll. And if it is going to succeed in persuading anti-European voters out in that election, it will expect their votes in the local election as well.

That could dent Labour’s hopes in Whitehouse and Whitton wards – and could also put the Tories under pressure in Castle Hill.

Last year UKIP had a string of second-place finishes in county council divisions across the town which provided a wake-up call to the traditional parties. It will be hoping for more success this year.

8 comments

  • I agree: representative government is not serving the people. There are alternatives. I'll present some to Suffolk Fabians on 24 June at 33 Silent Street. All welcome

    Report this comment

    braiswick

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Anyone noticed that comments by Steve Blake and skrich are virtually word for word - just change Tories for Labour.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Let's face it; the choices of who to vote for are very poor. The Tories only represent themselves and their rich mates in the City and have no idea how half the population make ends meet. Labour have lost sight of the people they were set up to represent and look a lot like the Tories. The Lib Dems want to be all things to all people but don't know how to manage it and Ukip couldn't string together a handful of sensible policies if they tried. Frankly the European Parliament; the UK parliament, and Councils, resemble a tired old private club for badly-behaved posh people intent on making a name for themselves, whatever the cost to the country. Get rid of the lot and start again I reckon.

    Report this comment

    skrich

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • The Tories have ruined this country and allowed millions of foreign workers to compete against the English working class by allowing rich landowners and industrialists to impose poverty wages on the same ordinary working people that they swore to protect. I dream of the day when every single Conservative Councillor, MP and other elected representative loses their posts and ends up at the Job Centre. In reality and very sadly I will never likely see that day because these vile people have embedded themselves into so many other publicly funded outfits they will always find a way of continuing their parasitical careers, comfortably financed from their offshore tax havens.

    Report this comment

    skrich

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • The tories could make a change but new dynamic members are needed. I wish more people under the age of 60 would get involved in local politics! Its all very well people complaining but without representation from todays working public none of the parties will have a grasp of reality. I am prepared to stand and be counted, I hope other youngers individuals follow.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Labour has ruined this country and allowed millions of foreign workers compete against the English working class that the original Labour Party founded back in the last 19th century was supposed to protect. I dream of the day when every single Labour Councillor, MP and other elected representative loses their posts and ends up at the Job Centre. In reality and very sadly I will never likely see that day because these vile people have embedded themselves into so many other publicly funded outfits they will always find a way of continuing their parasitical careers.

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • waspie's wife ..Yes I too think U.K.I.P. will gain votes..Ipswich sure isn't like it used to be and Labour let it all happen, but the Tories have lost backbone. Lib Dems, where will they be next year.!!!

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Think you will find UKIP will have a huge say in a number of these wards, if I was a Labour or Tory Councillor, I'd be concerned.

    Report this comment

    Tedbundy

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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