Hospital doctor wins Suffolk Tory vote

A CONSULTANT gynaecologist from Surrey has been chosen by Conservatives as their parliamentary candidate for the safe seat of Central Suffolk and Ipswich North.

Graham Dines

CENTRAL SUFFOLK: A consultant gynaecologist from Surrey has been chosen by Conservatives as their parliamentary candidate for the safe seat of Central Suffolk and Ipswich North.

Dr Daniel Poulter defeated five other candidates in the ballot to succeed Sir Michael Lord, who is standing down after 27 years as an MP.

However, four party members voted against his selection and one member abstained in protest that no local candidates had been considered for the job.

Mr Poulter, whose fianc�e Joanna grew up in mid Suffolk - her parents still live in Great Finborough - pledged to resign his post immediately as a specialist in obstetrics, gynaecology and women's health at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley, and to find health care work in Suffolk in the run-up to the General Election.

With Ipswich Hospital facing downgrading by the removal of emergency cardiac care and pancreatic cancer specialities, he told nearly 300 people at the selection meeting at Trinity Park: “I will fight to ensure the retention of cardiac and cancer care services and to stop their transfer to Norwich, Basildon and Cambridge.

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“I will also fight for high quality, properly funded community hospital services, as well as rehabilitation and respite care beds at Hartismere Hospital in Eye.”

More than 170 people applied for the vacancy, but when the shortlist of six was drawn up, senior party members complained that there were no local candidates on the list.

The Conservative group on Mid Suffolk district objected to the omission of council leader Tim Passmore while other activists had wanted the chance to judge other Suffolk hopefuls including deputy county council leader Jane Storey and Ipswich borough councillor Stephen Wells.

The shortlist was drawn up by a panel of six constituency members, including chairman Stephen Britt former county council chairman Charles Michell, and other county and district councillors and was approved by the national chairman Eric Pickles.

Mr Poulter, who is in his early 30s, is deputy leader of Reigate and Banstead District Council. He will be defending Sir Michael's majority in 2005 of 7,856 in the constituency, which stretches from Christchurch Park in Ipswich to the Norfolk border at Hoxne and includes Eye, Framlingham, Debenham, Wickham Market, Kesgrave, Westerfield, Claydon, Great Blakenham and Bramford.

The decision was made at an open primary, which is David Cameron's controversial but preferred method of choosing a candidate. Instead of restricting the selection meeting to Tory Party members, any person on the electoral register was able to attend and vote for candidates.

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