Coffey becomes Suffolk’s first female MP
HISTORY was made in Suffolk Coastal with the election of the county’s first female MP.
The constituency has traditionally been a stronghold for the Conservatives and this year’s result was no different.
Therese Coffey was selected by the Tories earlier this year to replace long standing MP John Gummer, who had held the seat for the past 27 years.
And she did not disappoint – receiving 25,475 votes and becoming Suffolk’s first female MP in the process.
Miss Coffey, who recently moved to Westleton, achieved a majority of 9,128.
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The count was held at Suffolk Constabulary’s headquarters in Martlehsham and got under way around 1am.
Miss Coffey, who used to work for the BBC, said: “I am very excited. Its been a very short journey - just three months since I was selected but I cannot wait to start work for the people of Suffolk Coastal. It is a huge privelege to be the first female MP for Suffolk however hopefully I will be remembered for more than that.”
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Miss Coffey, who achieved 46.3% of the vote - an increase of almost 2% on 2005, admitted she had big shoes to fill in following John Gummer but said she hoped to stamp her own mark on the constituency.
She said she was planning to tackle issues surrounding the NHS, coastal erosion, affordable housing, rural poverty and improving boradband access.
In her acceptance speech she thanked her mother and her dog Rizzo, who has been out with her on the campaign trail.
“She has been a real ice breaker,” Miss Coffey said. “I got her two years ago as a rescue dog - thats one of the reasons why I was so keen to support the Blue Cross appeal in Felixstowe.”
Miss Coffey said she wanted to be the most accessible MP Suffolk Coastal had ever had and was plannng to have her own mobile surgery - using either a converted horse box or an ice cream van.
“I think it is very important to get out and about and I am aiming to visit every parish once a year,” she said. “It might not sound like a lot but there are over 100 parishes. I want to be the most accessible MP Suffolk Coastal has ever had.”
A total of 55,179 votes were cast, a turnout of 71.59% - around 3% up on 2005.
It was the largest turnout in the constituency since 1997, when 75.8% of people went to the polls.
The Liberal Democrat’s Daisy Cooper polled in second place with 16,347.
Labour’s Adam Leeder was third with 8,812 votes, unable to hold on to his party’s second place of five year’s ago.
Meanwhile UKIP’s professor Stephen Bush recieved 3,156 votes and The Green Party’s Rachel Fulcher 1,103.