Could Ipswich supply new Norwich MP?

Ipswich borough councillor John Cook has been handed the task of trying to win back Norwich North from the Tories at the next election, it emerged today.

IPSWICH: Ipswich borough councillor John Cook has been handed the task of trying to win back Norwich North from the Tories at the next election, it emerged today.

Labour lost the seat in a by-election last July which had been caused by the resignation of Dr Ian Gibson during the expenses scandal that swept through Westminster.

Dr Gibson's 2005 majority of 5,549 was overturned, with Tory Chloe Smith romping home by 7,348.

Mr Cook, who is Labour's agent and secretary in Ipswich, comes from Thorpe St Andrew in the constituency and despite living and working in Ipswich, has remained a loyal fan of the Canaries.


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He intends to stand down as a Priory Heath ward councillor for the borough in May and return to Norwich. He is a former district councillor in Broadland and Norwich county councillor.

His selection means Ipswich Labour Party will have to find an agent to organise the re-election campaign of MP Chris Mole.

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He said: “I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and reacquainting myself with the many people in Norwich North who know me.”

Norwich South MP Charles Clarke said: “John Cook will be an outstanding Labour candidate for Norwich North. He is very politically experienced and understands the constituency deeply. He will offer a real threat to Chloe Smith.”

Mr Cook was Dr Gibson's election agent in 1992 and 1997 and says the former MP was “treated harshly” over the expenses affair which led to his resignation.

He is married to Adele, a lawyer working in the public sector, who also teaches at UEA, and they have a 19-year-old daughter.

Before becoming a professional politician, Mr Cook he worked as a bank clerk and what was then the Department for Social Security and HM Customs and Excise. He is a former Scout leader and also enjoys paragliding.

Who do you think will win the next election - and why? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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