Ipswich: Labour hopeful David Ellesmere vows to keep fighting for improved rail services for Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk
Ipswich Labour candidate David Ellesmere has pledged to keep up the fight for major improvements to the rail service to the region if he is elected at next year’s general election.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last year gave his backing to the establishment of a rail task force to press for improvements to the main rail line between London and the region.
The task force is led by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer along with fellow Conservatives Chloe Smith (Norwich North) and Priti Patel (Witham).
However Mr Ellesmere said the campaign to improve rail services would continue if he was returned to parliament in next year’s general election.
He said: “Improving the rail links to Ipswich is fundamental to improving the prosperity of the town and I would hope to play a major role in pressing the case for more investment.”
Like Mr Gummer, he feels it is important to improve the cross-country link – especially electrifying the route from Felixstowe to the Midlands through Ely and Peterborough.
Mr Ellesmere said: “We need to do everything we can to get freight off the roads – and this rail link is vital. I will do whatever I must to make our case.
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“Don’t forget that the Ipswich chord was built because of the insistence of one man, Phil Smart – a Labour councillor.”
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has been leading the campaign to improve rail services and was sceptical about Mr Ellesmere’s promise.
He said: “The fact is that if Labour get in they will not have the money for major infrastructure improvements like this, especially in this part of the world.
“Ed Balls has made pledges to increase welfare spending and this money has to come from somewhere – on their past record this is likely to be from major infrastructure projects like improving the rail lines.”