UKIP selects candidate to fight Ipswich at election

UKIP candidate Maria Vigneau.

UKIP candidate Maria Vigneau. - Credit: Archant

The United Kingdom Independence Party has selected a former director with the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche to fight Ipswich in May’s general election.

Maria Vigneau is hoping to cause a major upset by defeating sitting Tory MP Ben Gummer and Labour’s David Ellesmere to win the marginal seat.

She was selected at a meeting of UKIP members in Ipswich last week.

Ms Vigneau lives at Dedham on the Suffolk/Essex border and said she became interested in the party after seeing how a country like Switzerland could have a productive relationship with the European Union while not being a member of the organisation.

She said: “I lived and worked in Switzerland for 10 years in Basle and it was a fantastic experience. It gave me the chance to see first hand how well the relationship could work.”

She joined UKIP last year after returning to Britain, and the general election will be the first time she has stood for office.

Ms Vigneau was brought up on a council estate and said she felt her experience in communications and public relations would enable her to work well with the town’s residents.

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And despite the seat being a traditional Labour/Conservative marginal, she was confident of causing an upset: “I would not have put my name forward for the seat if I did not think I could win,” she said.

At the 2010 general election UKIP came fourth in Ipswich with 1,365 votes – just under 3% of the votes cast.

The party is expected to do better this time – it finished top in the European poll in Ipswich last May but came third in the borough elections held on the same day, failing to win any councillors.

Ms Vigneau is the fourth candidate to be selected to fight the seat. As well as Mr Gummer and Mr Ellesmere, Barry Broom has been selected as the Green candidate for the election on May 7.