Candidate’s protest at her exclusion from hustings

IPSWICH: It was billed as the main election hustings of the campaign, but before it got underway at Christ Church in Tacket Street, one of the excluded candidates spokes of her “upset” and “distress” at not being invited.

At the last count, there are nine people seeking to be the town’s MP, but only five were invited to the showpiece event organised by Ipswich Churches Together and Amnesty International.

Sally Wainman, who is campaigning to reopen Broomhill swimming pool, delivered campaign leaflets as a member of the audience called the organisers “totally undemocratic.”

The Rev Paul Daltry, who is the Church of England Ipswich Deanery’s officer for Church and Community Engagement, said the meeting had been organised a number of weeks ago and it had not been possible to invite candidates other than Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, UK Independence Party, and the Greens.

Mrs Wainman said later that it was ironic that as part of the ministry team and a reader in the Church of England at All Saints’ Church, Kesgrave, she had been excluded when the Archbishop of York had called on members of congregations to play their full part in this election campaign.

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Questions discussed by the five candidates invited - Labour’s Chris Mole, the Conservatives’ Ben Gummer, Liberal Democrat Mark Dyson, UKIP’s Chris Streatfield and the Green Party’s Tim Glover - ranged from third world aid, the economic crisis, and the role increased taxation could play in reducing the national debt, and the future of Broomhill Pool.

But in the light of the MPs expenses scandal, questioner Andrew Pettit asked each candidate to be transparent and disclose how much their campaigns were costing.

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Mr Mole said Labour in Ipswich had election resources supplemented by donations from trade unions, but when pressed said he expected the party would be spending around �10,000.

Mr Gummer gave his campaign spending as the same, with most of the money raised locally and a small amount coming from central funding. He said after polling day, how politics in the UK is funded would have to be tackled head on so that none of the parties were dependant on non-tax residents. Both said their own parties had paid the �500 deposit for them.

Mr Dyson said the Liberal Democrats did not have donations from the trade unions and non-doms to bankroll them.

“The Ipswich party has spent �3,000, of which �500 is my deposit and �2,500 for printing election leaflet. The remainder of the campaign depends on good will and I saved money by designing the art work for leaflet and the Ipswich Lib Dem election website.”

Mr Streatfield said he had paid his own deposit and also �217 for his election leaflets and Mr Glover said the Green Party had an �800 election fund to be spent on leaflets, while he was having to pay his own deposit.

Mrs Wainman told the Evening Star that she was funding her own campaign, including the deposit and �245 which had gone towards her leaflets.

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