Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey under fire over Orwell Bridge death tweet

PUBLISHED: 18:04 22 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:29 23 October 2017

Therese Coffey (Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal). Picture: House of Commons

Therese Coffey (Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal). Picture: House of Commons

Archant

MP Therese Coffey has refused to apologise after questioning why police kept Orwell Bridge closed for eight hours following a fatal accident.

Investigations by police closed the bridge on Friday after van driver Mick Rayner, from Essex, was struck by an agricultural vehicle and killed.

After the incident the Suffolk Coastal MP tweeted: “Tragic loss of life on A14/Orwell Bridge yesterday but Suffolk Police need to justify why road entirely closed for so many hours.”

But social media users were quick to condemn the comment. One, called H, said: “If it were our loved one killed or involved we would want everything logged ... someone died!”

Tom Bull, on Twitter, added: “Disgusting that you would question the police who are just doing a job. Officers have to tell the family. Maybe go work a shift with them and see what frontline policing is really like?”

Traffic in Ipswich ground to halt after the fatal crash on the Orwell Bridge on Friday morning. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Traffic in Ipswich ground to halt after the fatal crash on the Orwell Bridge on Friday morning. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dr Coffey has refused to back down but did say she had “prayed for the victim”.

“I do really feel for the family of Mr Rayner but there is an obligation on the police to cooperate with the Highways Agency about what they do about extensive closure of roads. This is not the first time I have challenged whether such an extensive time for the road to be closed is necessary.

“My query is, why did it take eight hours? I stand by what I wrote. I was reacting to comments. I don’t see the grounds to apologise for the tweet.

“I can understand why they are upset at the death for Mr Rayner, I prayed for him in church this morning.

Mick Rayner, who died in Friday's accident on the Orwell Bridge. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY Mick Rayner, who died in Friday's accident on the Orwell Bridge. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

“I sent the tweet after the newspaper had written a story about politicians calling for an investigation into a northern by-pass. That’s the reason I did it.”

But Ipswich MP Sandy Martin stood by the police: “I fully support the actions of the police in this tragic incident and I am quite certain that they did everything they could to make sure the incident was dealt with properly.”

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: “Police investigation of serious and fatal collisions needs to be carried out in a thorough manner, as initially the scene has to be protected, evidence gathered and witnesses spoken to.

“Enquiries can take a number of hours to complete, and our duty of care to road users means that roads cannot be reopened until the highway is clear of any hazard that may affect use of the road.

We work in conjunction with our partners to follow the ‘CLEAR’ principle, namely clearing trunk roads within four hours where possible, however in certain circumstances, this is not achievable. We apologise to those people who are inconvenienced by road closures, however we work hard to provide answers for collision victims and their families.”

One senior government source said the tweet showed a “lack of judgement”.

Record crowds turned out to welcome Santa Claus to a Suffolk garden centre as bosses kicked off their festive season.

A 26-year-old woman who went missing from her home in Ipswich sparking a police appeal has been found.

The Ipswich Society is interested in almost anything that affects the well-being of our town. We are not a single-issue organisation but pride ourselves on being multi-faceted and versatile.

Suffolk brewers Adnams have stirred up storm in a beer glass by extolling the virtues of “Mighty Norwich City” while not having a shop in Ipswich, their own county town!

Suffolk gardening expert, writer and broadcaster Ric Staines has died – prompting tributes from people who knew and worked with him.

Bramford Road in Ipswich is set to remain closed during Monday morning’s rush-hour while safety engineers continue their inspection of building work at a former pub.

Some people may still think of model trains as “toys” but hundreds of people who visited Kesgrave High School on Saturday went to admire the skills of those who put so much time and effort into an exacting hobby.

Pupils and staff at a Suffolk primary school are hoping to win a pot of cash set aside for community projects to revamp broken play equipment.

Ipswich seven-year old Alexander Boyle is much nearer getting a new specialist tricycle that will enable him to play with his family and friends after fundraising effort.

The Illegal Eagles are perennial favourites at the Regent, bringing country rock to Ipswich where it seems to have found a home.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24