Ipswich: Tributes at death of former MP Ernle Money

Ernle Money

Ernle Money - Credit: Archive

FORMER Ipswich Conservative MP Ernle Money has died at the age of 82.

Mr Money won the seat in the 1970 general election with a majority of just 13 in the closest result in the country in that election.

He actually increased his majority to 259 in the February 1970 election before losing to Labour’s Ken Weetch by 1,733 votes in October that year.

Mr Money, a barrister, died at the weekend after a short illness.

He leaves four children: Sophie, Jolyon, Pandora and Horry.

Horry Money said yesterday that his father had loved being MP for Ipswich – and was only sorry that he had not been able to continue to do so for longer.

He said: “I am very proud that my father was MP for Ipswich – and he loved his long association with the town.”

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He was a big fan of Ipswich Town and continued to follow the club even after he moved to Eastbourne. Horry Money said: “His enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and I’m still a season ticket holder today!”

Ernle Money’s success in the 1970 general election was a surprise.

Harold Wilson’s Labour Party had expected to win the election, and Ipswich – whose MP at the time was Solicitor General Sir Dingle Foot – was not considered a particularly marginal seat.

In the event the Conservatives under Edward Heath won the election and Mr Money scraped into the House of Commons by the tiny margin.

He was well regarded in the town as a good constituency MP.

Mr Weetch remembers him as a formidable opponent – who ultimately became a good friend.

He said: “Ernle Money and I fought each other in the spring and autumn of 1974. It was the time of rising inflation, deteriorating industrial relations and a climate of great political polarisation.”

Mr Weetch admitted that there had been some harsh words exchanged between the two men during the election campaigns – but they got to know one another well after 1974.

“He helped me on certain issues, and in fact I asked him to chair a report into football violence which was a big problem at the time.

“His great ability was to put people at ease and be able to talk to them about their problems – he was a ‘pavement politician’ before that became fashionable.”

Ipswich Conservative chairman Liz Harsant knew Mr Money and was sorry to hear the news: “It is very sad for his family, he did a great deal for the town and for the party in the town,” she said.

And current Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was boosted by Mr Money during his campaign in 2010.

“He came out with me one day, he was still very interested in the town and the older voters all remembered him very fondly. He was an important figure in the town and I’m very sorry to hear this news,” he said.

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