Ipswich: Green Party candidate “hasn’t the heart” to take on MP Ben Gummer at General Election

Mark Ereira-Guyer

Mark Ereira-Guyer - Credit: Gregg Brown

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

He fought Bury St Edmunds twice for Labour in 1997 and 2001 – coming within a few hundred votes of beating David Ruffley in 1997.

He then left Labour for the Greens and fought Bury for the Green Party in 2010. He has been a county councillor for Bury since 2009.

In a letter to the Ipswich Green Party he said his business and council commitments meant he was not able to devote enough time to fighting the seat and he wanted the party to have time to find another candidate.

He added: “Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.”

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Ipswich is a key marginal seat that both Labour and the Conservatives hope to win next year – but other parties are likely to be squeezed.

Mr Gummer was flattered to hear Mr Ereira-Guyer’s comments. He said: “I’m sorry he won’t be standing because I have a lot of time for him and I think we would have some good debates on the hustings. I hope he remains on the political scene in Suffolk.”

Labour candidate David Ellesmere was unmoved – and did not expect many of Mr Ereira-Guyer’s Green Party colleagues to share his regard for Mr Gummer.

He said: “From my experience, Green Party supporters have no time at all for the Tories. How can he admire someone from a party whose Prime Minister came in talking about leading the greenest party ever and ended up talking about ‘green crap’?”