Ipswich always set to be battleground

David Ellesmere

David Ellesmere - Credit: Archant

PROBABLY the least surprising news of the last week was the revelation that Labour sees Ipswich as one if its prime battlegrounds in the next general election.

The fact that David Ellesmere was selected to fight the seat just over a year after the last election shows the party sees it as a vital target.

The publication of the list of targets heralds, I suspect, the start of a steady procession of Labour bigwigs to boost the campaign in the seat.

I suspect we’ll see very different tactics from the two parties over the next few months and years.

Conservative incumbent Ben Gummer is likely to be left on his own to battle away by his party grandees – he’s done a good job at maintaining his profile and they probably reckon that there’s no point in sending up someone who is less well known than he is to campaign in the area.

There’s also the small matter that most high-profile Tories are in government and they have better things to do than swanning around the country.

For Labour the situation is different.

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Nothing is more important to its frontbenchers than campaigning – and while Mr Ellesmere has a high profile in Ipswich anyway thanks to his position as leader of the council, it is important for the party to portray him as an MP in waiting.

There’s already one former cabinet member heading this way on Thursday when John Denham comes to put fire in the belly of party members. He will not be the last.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg may have only just renewed their vows, but make no mistake the battle for Ipswich is well under way!