Election 2017: Defence Secretary Fallon brings steel to Tories’ campaign in Ipswich

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon campaigning in Ipswich.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon campaigning in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon joined Conservative Party campaigners in Ipswich as the General Election campaign opened a new front.


As well as joining party workers in the Mayfield Road area, he also spoke of the changes that were facing military bases in the region over the next few years.

The USAF is due to pull out of the Mildenhall airbase in the west of Suffolk in the early 2020s – and Rock Barracks near Woodbridge is due to be closed and sold off by the Ministry of Defence by 2027.

Since the election of President Trump last year there have been rumours that the USAF could rethink its plans to close bases – but Sir Michael said that did not seem to be on the cards.

He said: “As it happens I’m going from here to a meeting with Gen (James) Mattis (US Secretary of Defense) and I am we shall discuss this – but I’m not aware of any suggestion of a change in policy.

“So far as Rock Barracks and the other defence estate changes are concerned, there is a 10-year period for communities to prepare for the changes and we shall do all we can to support them in that.

“There is a great deal that can be done to promote the growth of business areas as well as releasing more housing for the public.”

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Sir Michael said party volunteers needed to work hard to ensure they encouraged people to vote in the election on June 8.

He said: “However good it looks, people have to show who they want running the country and negotiating on Brexit – Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.”

He pointed out that the Labour Party had actually won more votes in seats across the Ipswich constituency in last week’s county council elections and said more work needed to be done.

He said: “Ipswich has had a very good, hard-working MP who is also now a very hardworking minister.

“I don’t quite know how he (Ben Gummer) does all his work because I know he spends a great deal of time in the constituency. He is one of the hardest-working people in the House of Commons.”

Mr Gummer is defending a majority of 3,733 over Labour from 2015 and is also the Cabinet Office Minister sitting alongside Sir Michael at the government’s top table.

Nominations for the election have to be received by returning officers by 4pm on Thursday and a full list of candidates will be published an hour later