General Election 2017: Gummer bids farewell to Ipswich after his defeat by Labour in election

Former Ipswich MP Ben Gummer Picture: SARAH-LUCY BROWN

Former Ipswich MP Ben Gummer Picture: SARAH-LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has bid farewell to the town after being defeated in last week’s general election by Labour’s Sandy Martin.

He has thanked the people he worked with to transform the town since he was first elected in 2010.

He said: “As a Suffolk boy, it has been the greatest honour to represent a town I have known and cared about since I was a child. I am proud of what we have done in the last seven years to help Ipswich begin to become the town it deserves to be.

“That vision has only begun to be realized because I was able to work with some dedicated and passionate people, who care as deeply as I do about the future of Ipswich.

“The new opportunities that we have gained for Ipswich have been extremely hard-won and I could not have achieved these without their help and support. I want to thank them and wish them well in delivering the projects we have embarked upon.

“I am grateful too, beyond words, to my fellow Conservatives, for giving me their enthusiasm, company and love in the 10 years I was their candidate. They are committed public servants and deserve more thanks than they get.

“Finally, I would like to thank the people of Ipswich, who elected me twice and gave me the opportunity to serve them and the nation. I have learned more from being their representative than in anything else I have done, and so it is with gratitude as well as immense pride that I say goodbye, and good luck.”

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Mr Gummer helped to pull together the partners behind the Ipswich Vision project, and also helped to bring new investment to the Waterfront area after the two major projects there fell into administration during the credit crisis of seven years ago.

He was also a key supporter of the East Anglian Rail taskforce that resulted in major improvements to the main rail line to London.

Terry Baxter, Chairman of Ipswich Central, the town centre Business Improvement District (BID) said: “I’d like to put on record the huge thanks of Ipswich Central to Ben Gummer.

“He has provided outstanding support and commitment to both for the town centre ‘BID’ area and particularly his involvement in the Ipswich Vision project that has seen many millions of pounds of investment come to our town during his time as the MP for Ipswich.

“I’d also like to congratulate Sandy Martin on his election success and call on him to show the same level of commitment to the Vision project, to ensure that even in these times of national political and economic uncertainty, that Ipswich continues to ‘punch above its weight’.

“Our levy payers; investors, employers and those driving forward the economic development of Suffolk’s county town will expect nothing less and we look forward to working with him to continue that work.

Catherine Johnson, chair of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Greater Ipswich also congratulated Mr Martin and said they were looking forward to work with him.

They were concerned about his opposition to the proposed large bridge between Cliff Quay and Wherstead Road.

She added: “We note his comments about diverting funds from the Upper Orwell Crossings scheme to that of the northern bypass. We hope to listen in more detail to his thinking on this particular issue.

“We also look forward to a productive dialogue on the overall need for Ipswich to have a modern infrastructure that allows a much freer and more efficient flow of goods and people both within and to and from the town.”