Election 2017: Ipswich's Ben Gummer brings in MP colleagues for launch
PUBLISHED: 15:09 22 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:26 24 April 2017
Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer got his campaign for re-election off the ground on Saturday with a little help from his parliamentary friends.
Five of Suffolk’s seven Conservative MPs took to the streets of the Chantry area of the town after giving him a colourful launch at the Hawthorn Drive shopping centre.
Mr Gummer is defending a majority of 3,733 over Labour from 2015 in a seat that has swung between the two parties in recent elections.
Two years ago it was fought as a key marginal and Mr Gummer said he would be fighting it in the same way this time: “Whatever the polls say, anything could happen. There must be no complacency and we shall be fighting very hard again.”
He was joined by James Cartlidge, Jo Churchill, Therese Coffey and Matt Hancock for the launch along with councillors and political activists from across Suffolk.
Mr Gummer said: “We have a great message for the people of Chantry and Ipswich and I think Theresa May’s message is going down well with voters. I want to carry on working for the town and I hope to get the backing of the voters again.”
Mr Hancock said that in his West Suffolk constituency he had found former Labour and UKIP members who were planning to switch to the Conservatives because they liked Mrs May’s leadership.
Mr Gummer is also Cabinet Office Minister with a seat at the top table of government – but said this should not affect his campaign.
“Once Parliament is dissolved (on May 3) I shall be in Ipswich as much as I have been for all the other campaigns I have fought here. I am very much looking forward to the campaign and getting our message across to the people of Ipswich over the next seven weeks,” he said.
Labour has still to appoint a candidate to fight the seat – the appointment will be made by May 2 by regional officials in consultation with the party’s National Executive Committee,
However Labour agent John Cook said party members were busy campaigning and knocking on people’s doors throughout the year.
He said some people canvassed by Labour on the day the election was called were very impressed that the party was already prepared for the battle.