Big brother politics

WHO polls? You decide.The people of Ipswich are being given the chance to decide which Tory takes on current Labour MP Chris Mole at the next general election in a Big Brother-style public vote.

WHO polls? You decide.

The people of Ipswich are being given the chance to decide which Tory takes on current Labour MP Chris Mole at the next general election in a Big Brother-style public vote.

Having lost out by more than 5,000 votes at the last election, the Tories are keen to improve this time round and are hoping the new selection format proves a hit with the electorate.

Public votes have become hugely popular in recent years in reality shows such as Big Brother.

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As part of the Channel 4 gameshow members of the public vote to eventually decide which person they want to win the show.

In a shift from tradition, Ipswich's Conservative Association will stage a public vote event on Thursday where four possible candidates will make their pitches prior to the audience voting on who to win.

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Ipswich Conservatives chairman Gavin Maclure said people attending do not have to be members of the party.

He said: “We believe the people of Ipswich should decide who their Conservative parliamentary candidate is at the next general election.

“We encourage you to come along, have your say and vote for the man or woman who you want to see fight Chris Mole at the next election.

“It will hopefully show that the party is changing and that everyone is welcome.”

The candidates, who include Ben Gummer, the son of Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, will be interviewed in turn by a moderator in front of a public audience for 10 minutes with questions being taken from the floor for a further 20 minutes.

People wanting to attend need register in advance with the Ipswich Conservative Party, be over 18 years old and registered to vote in the new Ipswich constituency which comprises Alexandra, Bixley, Bridge, Gainsborough, Gipping, Holywells, Priory Heath, Rushmere, St John's, St Margaret's, Sprites, Stoke Park and Westgate.

To pre-register, complete and return the form at, call 0845 634 9197 or e-mail

Members of the public must register by 5pm on Wednesday to be eligible to vote at the meeting which takes place at the St Nicholas Centre on Cutler Street at 7pm.

N Do you think a public vote for a candidate is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Samantha George

“As your Member of Parliament, I will work for all residents and fight for a better deal for Ipswich and for Suffolk.

“I believe in getting things done for local people and my track record is one of delivery on local issues.”

Ben Gummer

“I have lived in Suffolk all my life.

“I work in business, running a consultancy in London, although I am taking time out to write a book, to be published in eighteen months time.”

Chloe Smith

“I believe in simple government that gets the basics right.

“I believe that people are enterprising, responsible and imaginative enough to run their own lives - and that's why I'm a Conservative.”

James Tumbridge

“East Anglia is my home, and I care deeply about the people who live here.

“Ipswich deserves an MP that cares more about our schools, NHS and transport, than being an MP and that is why I ask for your support.”

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