Theresa May steps it out in Ipswich

SHADOW House of Commons leader Theresa May was putting her best foot forward in Ipswich today in an effort to boost the Conservative campaign in the local elections.

SHADOW House of Commons leader Theresa May was putting her best foot forward in Ipswich today in an effort to boost the Conservative campaign in the local elections.

Mrs May was supporting candidates in marginal wards, but could not escape from the controversy which has split her party in Ipswich and Suffolk over the last two weeks - the £220,000 salary offered to new county chief Andrea Hill.

It has been a subject that has caused serious problems for Tory candidates and volunteers on the doorsteps during the campaign.

Famous for her collection of shoes, Mrs May was today sporting a tiger print pair.

The Conservatives are this year defending seats in Ipswich which they won in 2004, the year they finally ended the Labour Party's 25-year stranglehold on power in the town.

Mrs May was hoping to boost the campaigns of the Tories' women candidates - nearly half the party's candidates this year are women.

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Mrs May was trying to keep out of the controversy over the appointment of Town's £220,000 county council chief Andrea Hill.

She said: “We feel that local decisions are best made by local people, and it is not for a politician to come down from Westminster and tell members of Suffolk County council how much they should pay their chief executive.

“This is an election for local people to have their say in what is happening in the community, and of course we hope that the Conservatives do well in Ipswich.”

Mrs May was pleased to see such a large number of women candidates for the party in Ipswich.

She said: “We do have systems in place to encourage more women candidates at a national level, but here in Ipswich it has just happened - and that is a very good sign for the future.”