Could Labour hold a leadership hustings at a conference in Ipswich?
PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 January 2020
Labour Party members in East Anglia should have the chance to see leadership candidates at a hustings in the region before the crucial vote - and the meeting could take place in Ipswich.
There has been some concern that the party had organised no official hustings in the region - nor in Yorkshire, the East Midlands or the South East of England - but it has now emerged that a hustings event could be added to the party's regional conference that is due to be held during the second half of February.
The conference was originally planned for Bedford in November but had to be postponed because of the general election.
It is now being reorganised, and party bosses are hoping that it will still take part in Bedford - but that depends on the availability of a venue for the event.
Labour likes to move the conference around the region - in 2018 it took place in Norwich - but if Bedford is unable to find a venue, Ipswich Labour Agent John Cook said he had offered to try to find somewhere in this area.
All the leadership and deputy leadership candidates are likely to be invited to take part in hustings at the conference which is likely to be held after the official hustings which run from the end of this month until mid-February.
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Mr Cook said all the candidates were likely to be invited to visit Ipswich during the leadership election campaign - in 2015 all those running for the deputy leadership met members in Ipswich and Andy Burnham of the leadership candidates came to town.
Former MEP Alex Mayer was one of the first to flag up the lack of an official hustings and leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer also tweeted his disappointment at there being no hustings in several parts of the country.
Mr Cook said: "There aren't many venues in the region large enough for the full conference but we have held it at the hotel in Copdock before and I'm sure we could find something."
There are five candidates for the Labour leadership: Sir Keir, Rebecca Long Bailey, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry.
There are also five candidates for the deputy leadership: Angela Rayner, Ian Murray, Dawn Butler, Rosena Allin-Kahn, and Richard Burgon. The results will be announced on April 4.