Gummer gets another term

FORMER cabinet minister John Gummer is today starting what could be his last term as an MP after holding his Suffolk Coastal seat with an increased majority.

FORMER cabinet minister John Gummer is today starting what could be his last term as an MP after holding his Suffolk Coastal seat with an increased majority.

As expected, veteran campaigner Mr Gummer successfully held off his challengers – with the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates battling it out for second place.

Labour's David Rowe saw his party's vote fall by more than 20 per cent, but he was still 2,093 votes ahead of Lib Dem David Young.

The result was declared at 2.25am after the count at Suffolk police headquarters at Martlesham.

Ballot boxes were brought in from as far afield as Felixstowe and Southwold in the largely rural constituency, with counting delayed as everyone waited for boxes to arrive from Halesworth. There were more than 8,000 postal votes.

Conservative Mr Gummer polled 23,415 votes, a majority of 9,685, double that of 2001. The turn out was 67.8 per cent.

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After the result was announced by returning officer, High Sheriff Philip Hope Cobbold, Mr Gummer said it had been a "clean and decent fight" and he felt privileged to serve the electors of Suffolk Coastal.

He said it had been a fascinating election night nationally.

"I am thrilled to discover that the pollsters, pundits, clever gurus and the rest have been proved wrong and the people of Britain have decided to vote like they want to vote and not how the TV tells them to vote, and that is thoroughly for the good," he said.

Mr Gummer, now 65, has represented the constituency as its MP for the past 22 years and this term could be his last in the House of Commons – though all he will say is that he will carry on as long as he is wanted and enjoys the role.

Though disappointed with the outcome, Mr Rowe said he had enjoyed the campaign and it had been an honour to stand as a candidate in the constituency where he had lived all his life.

Mr Young remained upbeat and felt the increase in the Lib Dem vote showed the party was getting its message across and gaining support.

The election had been fought fiercely on the doorsteps on local and national issues – with council tax, MRSA and the NHS, coastal erosion, housing development, and the A14 among the biggest topics.

RESULT:

John Gummer (Con) 23,415

David Rowe (Lab) 13,730

David Young (LD) 11,637

Richard Curtis (UKIP) 2,020

Paul Whitlow (G) 1,755

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