Four candidates at by-election for council seat held by Ipswich MP Sandy Martin
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Four candidates are standing Thursday’s by-election for the county council seat held by Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin in May – a month before he was elected to Westminster.
The St Johns’ Division has been held by Labour at the county council for more than 20 years – and the party has chosen former county councillor Sarah Adams to fight the seat in the by-election.
She represented the St Margaret’s and Westgate division for four years before losing her seat to Conservative Chris Chambers in May, despite increasing her personal vote.
The Conservatives have chosen teenage candidate James Harding to fight the seat.
The party has held the St John’s Ward seat on the borough council – which has slightly different boundaries to the county council division – in the past, but Mr Harding will have to overturn a substantial Labour majority if he is to create an upset.
The Green Party has chosen Charlotte Armstrong – who fought the Ipswich parliamentary seat in June – to fight the division.
The Greens finished third in St. Johns in May, and will be hoping to remain ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the by-election.
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The Liberal Democrat candidate is University of Suffolk lecturer Edward Packard. Both his party and the Greens will be battling to break through in a seat that has been a traditional two-party battle between Labour and the Tories for many years.
The by-election takes place on Thursday and there are five polling stations which are open between 7am and 10pm.
They are: Cauldwell Hall Road Baptist Church; Gospel Hall, Kemball Street; St Johns URC, Cowper Street; and two separate polling stations at St Andrews Church Hall, Britannia Road.
The votes are due to be counted at Ipswich borough council’s Grafton House headquarters on Thursday evening and the result is due to be declared about midnight.
The result will not change the political balance at the county council – the Conservatives hold 52 of the 75 seats at Endeavour House. But in St John’s Mr Martin had a Labour majority of 622 (1,383 votes to the Conservatives’ 761) in May’s election.