March 10 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Under-pressure South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo has received the backing of his fellow MPs from the county as he fights for his political life.
In advance of the ballot of members in the South Suffolk Conservative Association, we are writing in support of you as our colleague.
As fellow Suffolk MPs we very much hope that you are chosen to fight the 2015 election in South Suffolk.
It is tremendously valuable for us and our County to have a mix of MPs including one with your enormous breadth of knowledge and experience.
Unlike most MPs, you have served as a Government Minister under two Prime Ministers, and continue to make a valuable contribution at the highest level for the good of our county, our country and your constituents.
On a county basis, it is your support and the co-ordination of Suffolk’s MPs which played a major role in obtaining £12 million of Government investment to support the current roll out of high speed broadband for homes, schools, farms and businesses in Suffolk.
Your dedication to environmental issues is well known, as are your hard fought campaigns on behalf of your South Suffolk constituents.
Recent examples of this include your opposition to unsightly pylons in our beautiful Suffolk countryside and the part you have played in negotiating changed flight paths, resulting in less aircraft noise in the constituency.
You have also played a major role in obtaining much needed community healthcare facilities at the Walnut Tree Community Hospital in Sudbury.
These major successes initiated by you have improved the quality of the day to day life of thousands of people and are just a small sample of your numerous achievements on behalf of your constituents.
We greatly value the contribution that you make as a dedicated community campaigner and experienced Parliamentarian and hope that the members of The South Suffolk Conservative Association will make the right decision.
Dr Dan Poulter.
Dr Therese Coffey.
Members of his constituency executive decided at the end of November not to re-adopt him to fight the safe Conservative seat at the next general election.
However Mr Yeo decided to use his right to call a ballot of all party members in his constituency in an attempt to gain the Conservative nomination for next year’s general election.
That ballot opens on January 20 and the result will be declared by national officials of the party on February 3.
Now the six other MPs in Suffolk have sent a letter to Mr Yeo expressing their support for him in his battle to be re-selected.
The letter was drafted by Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who is a junior health minister, and was signed by all the other MPs.
Dr Poulter said that five of the county’s seven MPs were new at the last general election, and they had found Mr Yeo’s experience – he was first elected to parliament in 1983 – invaluable.
He said: “Tim has been invaluable in working to bring us together as a group representing the county in a number of issues.
“He was very important in working behind the scenes to ensure that there was money available to extend broadband to rural parts of the county and on issues like ensuring electricity cables were put underground.”
Mr Yeo had also been successful campaigning on issues that were unique to his constituency.
Dr Poulter said: “When I was first elected I worked with him because he was involved in the campaign for the Walnuttree Hospital and I was involved in the campaign for Eye Hospital. That was very important for our constituents.”
He also rejected concerns that Mr Yeo’s age could count against him – he will be 70 next year: “He has a lot of fuel left in the tank. He remains very active,” Dr Poulter added.
However the MPs’ intervention may not go down well among Conservatives in Mr Yeo’s South Suffolk constituency, said one member of the executive.
Simon Barrett is vice-chairman of Babergh council’s policy committee and a member of the South Suffolk Conservative Association executive.
He said: “The MPs need to be careful. There are strict rules about canvassing – the executive is not allowed to make any statement about the vote. This is a matter for the South Suffolk Conservative Association members only.”