Cann under pressure to stand

LIBERAL Democrats in Ipswich are trying to persuade the son of former Labour MP Jamie Cann to stand for parliament at the next general election.Andrew Cann left the Labour Party in October to join the LibDems - and now party managers believe he would be their best hope of winning the seat in the general election which is expected in May next year.

LIBERAL Democrats in Ipswich are trying to persuade the son of former Labour MP Jamie Cann to stand for parliament at the next general election.

Andrew Cann left the Labour Party in October to join the LibDems - and now party managers believe he would be their best hope of winning the seat in the general election which is expected in May next year.

Mr Cann himself told The Evening Star that he felt unlikely to stand - although he confirmed the idea had been mentioned by people both inside and outside the party.

The Liberal Democrats in Ipswich have delayed the selection process for their candidate at the next election.

They have only just placed an advertisement looking for candidates in the party newspaper.

Mr Cann said: "It has been mentioned, but so far as I am concerned I think it is the wrong time for me to think of something like this.

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"I have a young family and a good job which I enjoy - I think it's too early for me to think about running for parliament.

"And the fact is I've only just joined the party.

"The idea has been raised by people both inside the party and by friends from outside, but I just don't feel that the time is right."

But he didn't rule out standing for election next year: "I may well stand in the county council elections," he said.

Ipswich has not been a happy hunting ground for the Liberal Democrats in the past - the party has never finished better than third in what has traditionally been a Labour/Conservative marginal seat.

At the 2001 by-election, the Liberal Democrat vote held up better than that of the other two parties - but candidate Tessa Munt still came third.

Since then the Conservatives have re-selected Paul West to have another tilt at sitting MP Chris Mole. Mrs Munt has been selected to fight the marginal seat of Wells in Somerset.

Mr Cann left the Labour Party after a series of disagreements, which culminated in his being removed as a ward organiser after he leaked details of proposals to sell-off the Corn Exchange to the Evening Star.

Many Labour activists in the town felt that his actions had weakened the party and contributed to it losing power at Civic Centre for the first time in 25 years.

At the time of his move to the LibDems, Mr Cann said he felt his new party was the natural home for people who shared the vision of the late Labour leader John Smith.

Ipswich Liberal Democrats hope to have applications for a candidate by the end of the year, and hope to go through the selection process early in 2005. This will leave a candidate in place in time for the election which is expected to be held on the same day as the county council elections, May 5.

If Mr Cann did stand for the Liberal Democrats, it would give his mother Rosie a hard decision to take.

She has taken no role in politics since Jamie Cann's death although she has remained a member of the Labour Party.

She did not follow Andrew's lead in joining the Liberal Democrats, although at the time of his defection, she said she and Jamie had brought up their children to think for themselves.

Do you think Mr Cann should stand for the Liberal Democrats? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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