Elections beckon for members of Ipswich and Colchester councils

Stephen Connelly celebrates winning the Gainsborough Ward, at the local election count at Ipswich Co

Stephen Connelly celebrates winning the Gainsborough Ward, at the local election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange two years ago. Will Labour be cheering again next month? Picture: SIMON PARKER

Voters will be going to the polls in Ipswich and Colchester at the start of next month as a third of the seats on the boroughs are up for grabs.

They are the only widespread elections in Suffolk and north Essex this year – all the other district and borough councils in the area have all-out elections next year.

In both Ipswich and Colchester a third of the council seats will be up for grabs – 16 in Ipswich and 17 in Colchester.

In Ipswich it is effectively impossible for Labour to lose power – it currently holds 33 of the 48 seats at the borough and even the most optimistic opposition politicians do not expect to gain more than a handful of the seats up for grabs this time.

In Colchester, which is run by a joint LibDem/Labour administration, things are much tighter. The Conservatives only have to gain three of the 17 seats up for election to form a majority administration.

In Ipswich the campaigning has been keen with local politicians trying to keep the debate on the doorsteps focussed on local issues.

Labour council leader David Ellesmere said local issues had been right to the fore: “We are hearing that people like what we are doing in the town with building new council houses and protecting services while they aren’t impressed with the state of the roads which are re responsibility of the Tory county council.”

Most Read

Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin said there had been little serious concern about the party’s national profiles: “You hear from some people that they don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, but we heard the same about Ed Miliband and Tony Blair – it is what is happening in the town that people want to talk about this time.”

However Conservative group leader Ian Fisher felt the national leadership was a major issue for many voters: “I wish it was more locally-focussed, but on the doorsteps we are hearing people saying they just don’t like Jeremy Corbyn – he’s one of those people you like or hate.

“In some parts of the town there are specific issues like the Upper Orwell Crossing in Holywells or the Northern Fringe in Castle Hill – but elsewhere people are seeing this as a referendum on national issues.”

The elections are being held on Thursday, May 3 – and the votes will be counted overnight.