Election 2017: There may be a storm brewing – but in Ipswich nothing stops politicians

PUBLISHED: 14:43 27 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:44 27 May 2017

Sandy Martin with his team before the heaven's opened. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Sandy Martin with his team before the heaven's opened. Picture: PAUL GEATER


Political campaigning is often unpredictable – and so it proved when we joined the Labour and Conservative teams fighting the marginal seat of Ipswich on Saturday morning.

Ben Gummer, his brother Felix, and Ali Miraj sheltering in Landseer Road. Picture: PAUL GEATERBen Gummer, his brother Felix, and Ali Miraj sheltering in Landseer Road. Picture: PAUL GEATER

I arrived at the Gainsborough Labour Club on Landseer Road at 10.15 to meet candidate Sandy Martin and his team as they arrived for a morning of door-knocking. Eventually about 24 turned up to “blitz” the estate.

But I was keen to get an early photo because there were clouds in the distance and the picture would not be so clear. I’m glad I got that shot!

The team were in good heart. Mr Martin said: “People like what we’re saying to them and there’s no shortage of people who will come out to help.”

Among those on the doorstep for Mr Martin was Neal Evans who lives in Clacton – but is the Ipswich-based official with Unite the union.

Sandy Martin and Neal Evans. Picture: PAUL GEATERSandy Martin and Neal Evans. Picture: PAUL GEATER

He said: “There are a lot of my members in Ipswich who are keen to see a good Labour MP like Sandy elected for the town to represent them and guard workers’ rights. I’m delighted to come and give him a hand.”

Just as they were about to start knocking on doors it started to rain . . . and I set off looking for his opponents. And the rest was slightly surreal.

The storm really hit just as I noticed Tory candidate Ben Gummer taking shelter under a bus stop with his brother Felix and friend Ali Miraj.

The hail came down – but eventually I left the shelter of my car (thank heavens I wasn’t on my bike) and rushed across to join him just before it started pelting down again.

The general election is on June 8The general election is on June 8

During our 10-15 minutes under the bus stop, he told me that his supporters were campaigning all over the town in small groups – Mr Gummer was joining those in Landseer Road before going to the Ipswich Hospital open day.

But he accepted he would not be able to call on many people personally that morning because of the storm: “It’s one of those things,” he said with a shrug as the rain beat down.

“We are getting a good reception. We’re getting a lot of people telling us that they’re switching to the Conservatives this time. At least that’s what they’re telling us,” he said.

The weather eased after about an hour and the teams were able to get to work knocking on doors – politics carries on when you’re 10 days from the election!

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