Suffolk and Essex are now true blue – and it’s hard to see it changing
- Credit: Archant
With the obvious exception of Ipswich, the one clear fact that emerged from the 2019 General Election was just how little change there was to the electoral map in Suffolk and Essex.
In Suffolk Labour came second again in every constituency - by a country mile. I said before the election that every other seat apart from Ipswich should be regarded as safe Conservative territory.
That didn't go down too well in Waveney which was held by Labour between 1997 and 2010 - but where the Conservatives had 9,000-plus majority in 2017. Peter Aldous now has a majority of 18,002 (and more than 60% of the vote). That looks pretty safe!
However Labour did finish second in every seat in Suffolk and north Essex - and despite claims by both the Liberal Democrats and Greens that they were preparing to make a breakthrough in places, in effect they were both left scabbling for morsels at the end of a bruising campaign.
In Suffolk Coastal Jules Ewart fought an energetic campaign and was insisting she could challenge Dr Therese Coffey. She did push up the Liberal Democrat vote, but she still came third behind Labour. If her party is to end up challenging in this seat in future it still has a very long march to complete.
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In Bury St Edmunds the Green Party benefitted from the withdrawal of the Liberal Democrats - but again it still finished in third place behind Labour. But places in the seat were pretty irrelevant given Jo Churchill's Conservative majority of almost 25,000.
In Essex, too, it was Labour which came closest to the Conservatives in most seats. In Colchester, held by Liberal Democrat Sir Bob Russell for 18 years from 1997 to 2015, Labour came second the Tories for the second election in a row as Will Quince increased his majority.
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And in both North Essex and Harwich and in Clacton the Conservatives racked up massive victories. Giles Watling collected 72% of the vote in Clacton.
So across the region, this looks like a one-party state. Tom Hunt's 5,479 majority in Ipswich means the seat must still be regarded as marginal - but everywhere else remains safe for the Tories and it's difficult to envisage a scenario in which the other parties can make any impact on the parliamentary map for the region.