Watch Tom Hunt - the Tory hoping to topple Sandy Martin as Ipswich MP
PUBLISHED: 15:01 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02 28 September 2018
Tom Hunt is preparing for his new life as Conservative candidate for Ipswich with a pledge to fight for the town's infrastructure . . . and a promise that he "knows his way around Whitehall."
The 30-year-old lives in Ely and is currently chief of staff to James Palmer, the elected mayor of Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough.
Born and educated in Ely, his mother now lives in Bury St Edmunds – and he says he is a regular visitor to Ipswich.
He was chosen as the party’s candidate to fight the town at the next election at a special meeting of the Ipswich Conservative Association on Thursday evening – beating off the challenge of Alex Deane and Joel Charles.
His career after school and University has been in politics – but he is keen to emphasise that this has been focussed on delivering services to the public.
He said: “I became a district councillor in Ely as I was finishing my Masters degree and my work has been in the political field – but what I am doing is ensuring projects are delivered.
“In my current role I’m working to ensure the infrastructure we’ve promised is delivered – that’s very important. I know my way around Whitehall – which doors to knock on.”
He said bringing major infrastructure projects to Ipswich would be a key priority for him – especially a new northern relief road across the top of the town.
He would also want to carry on the work improving the rail lines to Ipswich – and speeding up the cross-country link to Cambridge if he manages to beat Labour’s Sandy Martin at the next general election.
“Ipswich is well-placed and should be really prospering. I want to help it reach its potential,” he said.
Mr Hunt was a supporter and campaigner for Vote Leave during the referendum campaign two years ago – and feels the Prime Minister should be allowed to carry on doing her job.
He said: “I think the last thing the Conservative Party or the country needs is all this speculation. We have a Prime Minister and I am somebody who wants to see her allowed to get on and do her job.”
One of his previous roles was as media relations manager for the Countryside Alliance – the group that opposed the ban on hunting with dogs.
During the last election hunting became an issue in Ipswich after the Conservatives’ election manifesto included a pledge to look again at the ban.
However Mr Hunt did not expect the issue to be a feature of the next manifesto: “Although the Alliance is perhaps best known for its role in the hunting debate, it has campaigned on many other aspects of country life.
“It runs the Rural Oscars competition and has campaigned on the issue of rural broadband.
“I still feel the hunting act was bad legislation, but it is not an issue that will be revisited in the next Conservative manifesto.”
Mr Hunt hopes to set up a base in Ipswich within the next few weeks – once he has returned from next week’s party conference.
And while he has family a short journey up the A14, he will be living here on his own – for the moment. “Who knows, I might meet ‘The One’ here in Ipswich!”