Former Suffolk county councillor Jack Abbott has launched a campaign to become the Labour candidate for Ipswich at the next general election.

Mr Abbott was councillor for the Bridge Division from 2017 until last year - and in 2015 was one of the youngest Labour candidates in the country when he challenged Dr Dan Poulter in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich in that year's general election.

Ipswich Labour Party is currently in the process of selecting a candidate to challenge Conservative MP Tom Hunt at the next general election and a shortlist is due to be drawn up on June 25.

The final selection meeting is scheduled to take place on July 10 after which the party will have an official candidate.

Mr Abbott has already been backed by several councillors and former mayor Glen Chisholm. He also has the nomination of the Co-operative Party and of the local USDAW and GMB trades unions.

He said: “I am delighted to announce that I am putting myself forward to be Ipswich Labour's candidate at the next general election.

“It is time that Ipswich has an MP who genuinely loves the town, who wants to see its people succeed. I believe I can provide the belief, energy and vision which will see Ipswich grow, providing opportunities for young people and looking after the people who need support.

“I will provide leadership, through good times and bad; I will look to unite the town, not seek to drive its communities apart; and I will champion Ipswich instead of talking it down. Leadership. Unity. Ambition.

“I want to be a vehicle for change and deliver a message of hope for a town which has so much to be proud of.”

If he does win selection in July he will have a major battle on his hands at the next general election whenever it is called.

Mr Hunt won the seat from Labour's Sandy Martin in December 2019 with a majority of 5,500 - more than 10% of the vote - which is the largest majority any Conservative has won in the town since the Second World War.

However, both parties still see the town as a key marginal and it seems certain to be one of the most keenly-fought seats.