Labour deputy candidates line up to visit Ipswich

Labour leadership candidate, Caroline Flint, visits Roundwood Bowls Club in Ipswich.

Labour leadership candidate, Caroline Flint, visits Roundwood Bowls Club in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Two of the candidates hoping to become Labour’s next deputy leader visited Ipswich at the weekend – and another is due in town tomorrow.

Labour deputy leader candidate Stella Creasy

Labour deputy leader candidate Stella Creasy - Credit: Archant

The first to visit was Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint who is seen as a keen Blairite. She visited party members for a question and answer session on Saturday lunchtime before joining them for a bowls social afternoon at the Roundwood Bowling Club.

Yesterday Stella Creasy visited the town to meet party members and tomorrow Angela Eagle will be seeking support from members in Ipswich.

Ms Flint, who was a minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown but fell out with Mr Brown and left the government in 2009 describing herself as “female window dressing”.

She said the lesson of this year’s general election was that Labour had to talk about issues that affected everyone – not just those who are poorest or most in need.

She said: “We lost seats that we should have won, like here in Ipswich, because we were not addressing the concerns of the working class and middle class people who are trying to make life better for themselves.

“Here in Ipswich we had a very good candidate in David (Ellesmere) and good organisation – but we could not persuade enough people that we had policies that were relevant to them.

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“It was certainly right that we talked about the bedroom tax and food banks. We’re the party for people who are concerned about issues like that – but too often it seemed as if that was all we were talking about and if I’m deputy leader I want to go out and also campaign on issues that affect them.”

Ms Flint said Labour had found a winning formula between mid-1990s and the mid-2000s because it had attracted the votes of a wide coalition of people.

“We might not have done everything people wanted, but we introduced the minimum wage and tax credits and put more investment into public services. That was something we could not have done if we had not been in government,” she said.

Ms Creasy met Labour members from at a meeting in Ipswich after a visit to her home town of Colchester earlier in the day.

She said she had heard many times during the election campaign that there was no clear reason to vote Labour. She wanted to change that by using the deputy’s position to energise party members and voters.

She said she is ready for the job whoever becomes party leader – she has worked with all the leadership candidates.

“I’m telling Labour members, ‘I don’t just want your votes, I want your voices as well.’ That is my message,” she said.