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Boris Johnson woos Tory faithful at Suffolk hotel as hustings hit region

PUBLISHED: 17:02 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 13 July 2019

Boris Johnson's meeting at Claydon was hosted by local MPs Dr Dan Poulter and Dr Therese Coffey, Picture: PAUL GEATER

Boris Johnson's meeting at Claydon was hosted by local MPs Dr Dan Poulter and Dr Therese Coffey, Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson paid a whistle-stop private visit to Suffolk on Saturday to meet party supporters on his way between two hustings events in the region.

Boris Johnson addressing the meeting at Claydon. Picture: PAUL GEATERBoris Johnson addressing the meeting at Claydon. Picture: PAUL GEATER

He met about 80 party members and business leaders at the Claydon Country House Hotel for a short meeting and a brief question and answer session.

This was a private meeting - but we were the only media invited to hear what he had to say and there was no interview - only party members were able to ask questions.

About 80 Conservatives heard Boris Johnson at the meeting in Claydon. Picture: PAUL GEATERAbout 80 Conservatives heard Boris Johnson at the meeting in Claydon. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Mr Johnson was well received by the members - although he did have to perform something of a sidestep when he appeared to back calls for a new Ipswich northern route, a project opposed by his host Central Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter.

While calling for general infrastructure improvements, he asked: "Is it not time we had a road across the north of Ipswich?"

Ipswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt with Boris Johnson. Picture; PAUL GEATERIpswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt with Boris Johnson. Picture; PAUL GEATER

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To laughter in the room as Dr Poulter shook his head animatedly, Mr Johnson added: "We need road improvements on roads like the A14 because they massively help people on modest incomes to get to work. Road improvements are a big equaliser for all concerned."

Ipswich Conservative Association chairman John Howard with Boris Johnson. Picture; PAUL GEATERIpswich Conservative Association chairman John Howard with Boris Johnson. Picture; PAUL GEATER

Mr Johnson insisted he would be able to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 and did not accept warnings from some suppliers, including Tesco, that there could be food shortages by Christmas.

He said: "We will have our Christmas dinners. There will even be Brussels Sprouts if you want them!"

Boris Johnson arrives at the meeting with Dr Therese Coffey and Dr Dan Poulter, Picture: PAUL GEATERBoris Johnson arrives at the meeting with Dr Therese Coffey and Dr Dan Poulter, Picture: PAUL GEATER

Answering a question from road haulier and pro-Brexit campaigner Stephen Britt, Mr Johnson said it was vital that East Anglia should see infrastructure improvements to the Port of Felixstowe - to both the rail line and the A14.

Both are currently the subject of campaigns promoted by businesses and politicians from across the region.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey co-hosted the meeting with Dr Poulter - and it was packed with leading Conservatives from across the county including former county council and Waveney leader Mark Bee, Ipswich parliamentary candidate Tom Hunt, and current county cabinet member Paul West.

Mr Johnson spent an hour in Claydon, answering questions and having his photograph taken with party supporters before heading off to the second official hustings of the day with Jeremy Hunt at a country club near Maldon in Essex.

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