Would-be Ipswich MP brands northern bypass opponents 'NIMBYs'
Opponents to a northern bypass in Ipswich are "NIMBYs" who should have "more care for their county town", a would-be MP has said.
Tom Hunt, the Conservatives' prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, said he was prepared to be a "hate figure" for those against the multi-million pound scheme by taking such a strong position.
His tough talk puts him starkly at odds with many fellow Conservatives including Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich - but Mr Hunt claims to have the backing of prime minister Boris Johnson for one of the three proposed routes.
A consultation on the trio of options for a Northern Route to link the A14 at Claydon or Coddenham to the A12 near Martlesham or Woodbridge has been running since July, with 2,000 people attending a series of public meetings.
The plans will now go on display around the area until September 13, the last day for people to have their say on the potential route.
While he stressed Dr Poulter was a "good and able man and a very diligent MP", Mr Hunt said: "It is not to say me and him are going to agree on every issue. On this issue, we don't agree."
Mr Hunt added: "Ipswich is a proud town and it wants and deserves a member of parliament who's prepared to fight for them.
"If that means on occasion they might disagree with some of their party colleagues or their own government, then so be it."
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Of opponents to the scheme, he said: "I think they should have more care for their county town."
He said people should be aware of the "wider economic benefits associated with what the northern bypass will bring" and added: "All the people who say it's not needed can't evidence how it's not needed."
Mr Hunt added that people's opposition "frustrates me slightly", particularly as he believes Ipswich has not had the infrastructure funding it has needed in recent years.
Mr Hunt also hit out at Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, claiming the Labour politician had not campaigned hard enough for a northern bypass and accusing him of an "abdication of duty".
To that, Mr Martin replied: "I think everyone should put the wider concerns of Ipswich at the top of their agendas, but it doesn't mean I don't understand some of the real concerns people have about the north of Ipswich.
"If the Conservatives want to play that sort of party political point scoring, that's up to them. As far as I'm concerned, I've done everything I can to put pressure on the government."
Mr Hunt added: "If Ipswich wants a northern bypass, it is going to have to fight for it.
"If I have to be a hate figure for a few people outside of Ipswich, then so be it.
"I'm in Ipswich to get things done and fight like a lion for the people of Ipswich."