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Suffolk politicians ready for Christmas election as Commons backs poll

PUBLISHED: 20:45 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 21:12 29 October 2019

MPs have voted to take Suffolk back to the ballot box. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor /PA Wire

MPs have voted to take Suffolk back to the ballot box. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor /PA Wire

Election machines across Suffolk and Essex are being wound up again after the House of Commons voted for a General Election in the second week of December.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin listens to  Frank Field during the debate on the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill in the House of Commons, Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor /PA WireIpswich MP Sandy Martin listens to Frank Field during the debate on the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill in the House of Commons, Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor /PA Wire

The election is set to take place on December 12 but the bill allowing the poll still has to go through the House of Lords.

In this area most seats will remain safe for the Conservatives - but there will be a very tough contest in the highly marginal seat of Ipswich. And there is also likely to be a keen challenge in Waveney.

In Essex the main interest is likely to be on whether Nigel Farage's Brexit Party can make life uncomfortable for Giles Watling in Clacton and the Liberal Democrats will be hoping to challenge Will Quince in Colchester after holding the seat for 18 years from 1997 to 2015 - but they did slip to third place in 2017.

Labour's Sandy Martin is defending a majority of just 831 over the Conservatives. He was in the House of Commons for the debate - as members of his party back in Ipswich were preparing to ramp up their campaigning in the general election.

His victory in 2017 was something of a surprise but he has developed a high profile in the town.

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Labour's Sandy Martin is defending a majority of just 831 over the Conservatives. He said he was ready for the fray: "The Conservatives have had more than three years and are going into their second General Election since the referendum and they have got nowhere.

"Labour has a clear plan to get a deal with the EU and I look forward to telling the voters about that. It is one of the five pledges we will be standing on in this election."

Ipswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt said: "The vast majority of voters I talk to in Ipswich are hungry for the log jam in Parliament to be finally broken and for Brexit to be delivered so that we can all focus our attention on other pressing priorities. I believe that this current Parliament has failed the British people and the time has come to elect a new fresh Parliament therefore I welcome the fact that there is going to be a General Election.

"Over the past 13 months as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Ipswich I've had the privilege of meeting tens of thousands of Ipswich residents and talking to them about their priorities. I look forward to meeting many more over the coming weeks."

Liberal Democrat candidate in Suffolk Coastal Jules Ewart said: She said: "Our constituency has been abandoned by the political elite and is now completely stuck, just like the rest of Westminster.

"So I will be campaigning positively on the local issues that really matter to local people - including strengthening our economy, improving education and opportunities for our children and protecting our local environment, which currently is under attack.

"I cannot tell you how much work needs to be done to improve the lives of local people. I will be the MP who rolls their sleeves up and actually gets on with it."

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