Election 2017: Labour racing to find Ipswich candidate - Jane Basham wants to take on Ben Gummer
PUBLISHED: 16:20 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:56 24 April 2017
Barry Eley Photography
Labour Party officials are hoping to have a candidate in place to challenge Ben Gummer in the June 8 General Election within a week to 10 days.
Normally it would take weeks to advertise the vacancy for a candidate and select someone to fight the seat – but the procedure will be compressed to get a candidate in place.
Candidates will be selected by a regional board with input from the party’s National Executive Committee – local members will not have a say on who will fight the seat.
David Ellesmere, who fought the seat two years ago, has already said he will not be fighting it again.
But Jane Basham, who fought the South Suffolk seat in 2015 and also stood as Labour candidate for Suffolk PCC in 2012, has put her name forward to be candidate.
Another person to rule himself out is Jack Abbott, who was one of the youngest parliamentary candidates in the country when he fought Central Suffolk and North Ipswich in 2015.
He is the Labour candidate for the Bridge Division of Ipswich in the county council elections – and said he felt it was right to concentrate on getting political experience in local government at this point of his career.
County council Labour group leader Sandy Martin, who lives in and represents the St John’s Division in Ipswich, would not comment on whether he would put himself forward.
But Ms Basham, who lives in the town, said it was important that the party had a candidate ready to take the battle to the Conservatives.
She said: “I’ve worked in Ipswich for around 25 years and have family in Ipswich. This might indeed be a tough election – so Ipswich needs a candidate who’ll fight hard for them because they need a Labour MP.
“Someone who will fight for a Brexit that really works for working people, who will defend our NHS and who will make truly affordable housing – including council housing– a reality.”
She is a former director of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) and is a regular campaigner for the Labour Party.
She told her Labour Party colleagues that she would be seeking the nomination for the Ipswich seat with a Facebook post saying: “I have put my name forward as I want it (the candidate) to be me.”