Election 2017: Candidates in Ipswich prepare for campaign to restart after Manchester atrocity

In Ipswich hustings like that at Suffolk One have seen reasonable debate develop. Picture: SARAH LU

In Ipswich hustings like that at Suffolk One have seen reasonable debate develop. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

With two weeks to go before the country turns out to vote in the general election, campaigning is restarting after the Manchester atrocity.

The general election is on June 8

The general election is on June 8

The major parties were restarting their local campaigns on Thursday before the national campaigns get underway again on Friday.

Meanwhile UKIP was unveiling its national manifesto on Thursday.

In Ipswich, which is a two-way fight between Conservative Ben Gummer and Labour’s Sandy Martin, volunteers were preparing to go back on to the streets.

Although there is a hard-fought battle for votes on the streets of the town, both candidates were keen to emphasise that they were determined to fight on issues, rather than personalities – and for that reason they did not think the atrocity in Manchester would alter their campaigns significantly.

Mr Gummer said: “I have known Sandy for many years and while we profoundly disagree on many policy issues, we can debate those issues and we respect each other’s point of view.

“We have had some excellent hustings and I am looking forward to meeting more people to explain why they should vote for us again.”

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Mr Martin agreed that the campaign locally had been fought on the issues: “From that point of view I don’t think there will be a great deal of change to the way we campaign locally between now and the election.

“I think the major national parties have behaved following the bombing – but my fear is that some elements of the national press are making this into an issue for their own political ends and that is very worrying.

“Locally we are doing all we can to focus on the issues in the election.

All campaigning has been suspended since the bomb attack on Monday evening. Candidates and their teams have been catching up on paperwork and preparing for the restart of the campaign.

Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke on Wednesday and agreed on the phased restart which will begin after Thursday’s 11am silence with local work resuming.

There are likely to be continued restrictions to campaigning with the heightened security status now in force.

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