Labour’s sign of panic in Ipswich
AS Cabinet ministers line up to visit Ipswich on behalf of Labour’s Chris Mole, Tory high command seems to have forgotten young Ben Gummer, who has yet to have any major politician pitch in to help him.
Already, Labour has sent David Lammy and comedian Eddie Izzard into battle, and two Cabinet ministers are due this week to campaign in the borough.
Ben assures me that he will have plenty of backing, which leads me to wonder whether there is a hidden meaning behind all Labour’s activity. Could it be that they think they’re going to lose to the Conservatives and are therefore desperate to bolster support for Chris?
Steering well clear - so far - is Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who if he does set foot in Ipswich will face a barrage of hostility over the plans to downgrade the town’s acute hospital. Chris is the only one of the candidates fighting to become MP who actually supports the East of England Strategic Health Authority’s proposals for the removal of certain cancer services and the plans to ship heart attack victims to Norwich, Papworth, or Basildon.
CAMPAIGN ONEUPMANSHIP: Tim Yeo, who is defending his Suffolk South constituency of 27 years for the Tories, has a poster immediately after the Welcome to Suffolk signs on the A137 crossing the River Stour.
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In the battle for posters after nearly two weeks of campaigning, the Tories and UKIP are slugging it out for the attention of drivers northbound on the A12 south of Chelmsford, while the Liberal Democrats seem to have sewn up Colchester. But I have to report that some rotten scoundrel has defaced a Tory Essex North Bernard Jenkin poster near Fox Street with the words “Vote BNP.”
RUSSELL’S 40-YEAR HIGH: I can report that the surge in support for the Liberal Democrats was not the subject of fevered conversation at the check-outs of Waitrose in Colchester on Sunday. However, Lib Dem candidate for the town Bob Russell - MP since 1997 - says he is getting the best feedback he has known in 40 years of campaigning for local and national office.
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“The response on the doorstep was already very good, but since Lib-Dem Leader Nick Clegg’s stunning performance last Thursday it has got better and better.
“My wife and I were in a supermarket on Saturday afternoon and it took twice as long to get round as customers came up to me assuring me of their votes and asking for posters.” It couldn’t have been Waitrose!
KENNY’S CHIVALRY: Kenny Young, the East of England Labour Party’s young media officer, won’t easily live down the photograph in the national newspapers of him crouching down to hold open the door for an imperial looking Gordon and Sarah Brown. Perhaps he fancies himself as a Scottish Sir Walter Raleigh.