West Suffolk is one of four seats in the county where a new MP is guaranteed after Matt Hancock decided to step down from Parliament after his jaunt in the jungle 20 months ago.

There have been a few tweaks to the constituency by the Boundary Commission - Clare and Cavendish have moved into it - but essentially its character hasn't changed.

West Suffolk has three main centres of gravity - the capital of British horseracing at Newmarket (although much of the course is actually over the county border in Cambridgeshire!), Haverhill which was largely redeveloped as a "new town" in the 1960s and the Breckland area between Mildenhall and Brandon which is dominated by two huge US air bases.

Since the seat was created in 1997 it has always returned a Conservative MP and after Mr Hancock announced he was standing down the local association moved quickly to find a replacement as its candidate.

(Image: West Suffolk Conservatives)

Last summer, it chose Nick Timothy, Theresa May's chief of staff when she entered Number 10 in 2016.

He has also made a name as a Daily Telegraph columnist and is a hot tip to be a major figure in the House of Commons should he retain the seat for his party.

Mr Timothy is seen as Westminster/Whitehall insider - but he has family links with the area and he has been out visiting towns and villages across the constituency since his candidacy was confirmed.

He is defending a majority of more than 23,000 won by Mr Hancock in 2019 and the small changes should not change the demographics significantly.

Rebecca Denness campaigning in Mildenhall.Rebecca Denness campaigning in Mildenhall. (Image: West Suffolk Labour Party)

But there has always been a strong Labour presence in the Haverhill area and the new homes being built near Mildenhall could also change the character of the seat.

One of the first decisions the new government will have to make after the general election is whether to approve the hugely-controversial plans for the massive Sunnica solar farm near Mildenhall.

Last week's Yougov/MRP poll suggested the seat was now an electoral toss-up between the Conservatives and Labour with the outcome possibly dependent on the impact of the Reform UK vote.

Mr Timothy said he was enjoying meeting people from across the constituency - but this was a campaign that had started when he was selected, not something that started at the end of May!

He added: "You can't escape the economic pull of Cambridge just down the road and we have to look at how that can benefit West Suffolk."

He said he would be pushing for proposals for a new rail link between Haverhill and Cambridge - and to ensure that developments had community support.

Labour candidate Rebecca Denness is a civil servant from Ely who is hoping to capitalise on the government's unpopularity.

She has been campaigning with her supporters across the constituency - and has said she also wants to look at restoring the rail link between Haverhill and Cambridge.

Green candidate Mark EreiraGreen candidate Mark Ereira (Image: Newsquest)

The Green Party has selected well-known local activist Mark Ereira as its candidate - he reduced the Conservative majority in Bury St Edmunds to 368 when he was the Labour candidate in the neighbouring seat in 1997.

Since then he spent many years as a Green member of Suffolk County Council - but it would be a major surprise if he came close in this election because his party is concentrating on the Waveney Valley seat.

Henry Batchelor is the Liberal Democrat in the seat and TV host Dr David Bull is the Reform UK candidate - he could potentially take votes off the Conservatives making the seat more vulnerable.

There are two Independent candidates:  Luke O'Brien and Katie Parker. And Ivan Kinsman is standing for the relaunched Social Democratic Party which is contesting its first elections since 1987.