Election 2017: Will the election see the traditional battle emerge in the seats near Ipswich
- Credit: Lucy Taylor
Nominations have closed as the battle for seats in Westminster takes on a new intensity with four weeks to go before polling day in the 2017 General Election.
In the Ipswich area, much of the interest will focus on whether the changed landscape seen in 2015 will continue – or will voters return to more traditional parties.
The Ipswich constituency, which includes just over three quarters of the town, has been a traditional Conservative/Labour marginal for decades – and that did not change two years ago.
Tory Ben Gummer held the seat with an increased majority of 3,733 over Labour’s David Ellesmere. The other parties were, as usual, left scratching around for a few thousand votes.
It seems certain the battle for the seat will turn out to be a two-horse race again. This time Mr Gummer’s Labour opponent is Sandy Martin who leads his party group at the county council.
Where there could be a change is in the battle for the other places. In 2015 UKIP came third with the Green Party beating the Lib Dems to fourth place. Both the Greens and the Lib Dems lost their deposits.
The same parties are contesting the seat this time around and there will be keen interest on the performance of the smaller parties who are always likely to see their vote squeezed in a marginal seat. Whose deposit will be at risk this time?
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The north west of Ipswich is in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituency which is, like South Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal that sit next to the town, safe Conservative territory.
Two years ago Labour came second in all these seats with UKIP third and the Liberal Democrats fourth – but no other party was anywhere near challenging the Conservatives.
For the smaller parties the main interest will be focussed on seeing how UKIP performs. Will its wipeout in last week’s county council election be repeated? And can Labour retain its place as the “best of the rest” in the battle in these rural constituencies?
The Greens have made slow but steady progress and now hold county council seats in both the South Suffolk and Central Suffolk constituencies (albeit some way away from Ipswich) and the Liberal Democrats are having to overcome a disappointing local election result in rural areas where they have, in past times, looked as if they could become credible challengers.