Ipswich LibDem activist backs both coalition parties

Juliet (Ann) Groves

Juliet (Ann) Groves - Credit: Archant

One of the best-known Liberal Democrat activists in Ipswich is signing the nomination papers for defending Conservative Ben Gummer.

But Juliet Ann Groves remains a member of the LibDems, and has been helping Sir Bob Russell’s campaign to retain the Colchester seat.

Ms Groves has been active in the LibDems, and before that the SDP, in Ipswich for more than three decades.

A founding member of the SDP in 1981, in 1983 she was election agent for the Liberal Party candidate in the general election in the town.

But she said this year a vote for the LibDems in Ipswich would be wasted – and she felt that Mr Gummer had done enough over the last five years to deserve a second term at Westminster.

She said: “When I joined the SDP one of the things that appealed to me was that it was not a tribal party – its members recognised there were good people in all parties.

“Ben has done a lot of good for Ipswich and deserves to win again. The LibDems cannot win here – they’ve only just got a candidate – and I feel that Labour is very tribal.”

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However it is only in Ipswich – where Ms Groves lives – that she is backing the Tories.

She said: “I’ve given some money to Sir Bob’s campaign in Colchester and I’ve been down there stuffing leaflets in envelopes for him and will be doing so again.

“Like Ben, Bob is a very good MP and deserves the support of everyone. I’m a LibDem. I’ll remain a LibDem. I’m not a Tory – but Ben is the best choice for Ipswich.

“I’ve told Bob what I’m doing here and that I’m quite open about this. No one can accuse me of going behind their back.”

Ipswich Liberal Democrat councillor Inga Lockington said Ms Groves had told them she would be signing Mr Gummer’s nomination paper – and would be publicising the fact.

Mrs Lockington said it was vital that the LibDems put up candidates in every seat to give everyone in the country the opportunity to back the party.

Its Ipswich candidate, Chika Akinwale, was not from the town but lived only just outside Suffolk and would be working hard during the campaign.