October 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has dismissed suggestions he might be persuaded to abandon the town and fight the safe seat of South Suffolk at next year’s general election.
Weekend speculation suggested there had been an attempt by members of the South Suffolk Conservative Association to persuade Mr Gummer to stand for their safe seat.
He is defending a majority of just over 2,000 in the highly-marginal Ipswich seat.
However Mr Gummer dismissed any suggestions of taking part in a “chicken-run” to a safer seat.
He said: “When I took a call about this (from a national newspaper) it was very unwelcome. I have made it quite clear I am fully committed to Ipswich and will do all I can to win another term.”
Mr Gummer was unanimously re-selected to fight the Ipswich seat again by the town’s Conservative Association last summer.
It comes after current South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo was deselected in a ballot of association members last month.
The vice-chairman of the South Suffolk Conservative Association, Simon Barrett, said none of the senior officers knew anything about any approach to Mr Gummer.
He said many people admired the work Mr Gummer had done in Ipswich and the way he had taken an active role in the town’s life – but it would not be right to expect him to change constituencies.
“The first thing we knew about this was when we read it in the Sunday paper. No one seems to know anything about it, it’s not a serious suggestion.”
South Suffolk agent Peter Burgoyne said party rules prevented an MP in one seat applying to stand for another – unless there were major changes to constituencies. There are no changes planned for next year’s election in Suffolk.