Communist Party returns to field candidates in Suffolk elections

Mark Jones

Felixstowe Communist Party of Britain candidate Mark Jones. - Credit: Communist Party of Britain

After a gap lasting several decades, a once-familiar political grouping is attempting a comeback in this year's county council election in Suffolk.

The Communist Party of Britain is putting up two candidates in May's elections - one in Bury St Edmunds and one in Felixstowe - in what is believed to be its first foray into a major election in the county since the 1980s.

The party was formed in 1988 when members split from then the Communist Party of Great Britain - and continued after the original party wound itself up after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

However today's Communist Party traces its roots back to the formation of the original party back in the 1920s.

The Communist Party of Britain fielded a small number of parliamentary candidates in general elections between 1992 and 2015 - but did not field any in the last two elections, asking members to support the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.

Since the election of Sir Keir Starmer as Labour leader, it has tried to attract some left-wing members of the party and has decided to contest elections again.

And this has persuaded two members to stand for seats on Suffolk County Council.

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Mark Jones, who works in construction sector and is an active Unite the union member will be contesting the Felixstowe Coastal seat for the party. He is well-known in the town, having lived there for over 20 years. 

Darren Turner, a Communist Party town councillor for Out Westgate ward in Bury St Edmunds and a local postal worker for three decades, will be fighting to win the Tower division on Suffolk County Council. 

Mr Jones explained his reasons for standing: “As with the country as a whole, as with Suffolk, Felixstowe is showing the scars of a society that is becoming increasingly unequal, where working people and young people in particular are exploited and marginalised.” 

Mr Turner added: “Outsiders assume that Bury St Edmunds is a universally affluent place. Yet I know from first-hand experience that in-work poverty is rapidly increasing, the numbers of our children receiving free school meals is at an all-time high, our public transport system is an unreliable and expensive mess and our precious green spaces are being eaten up by profit-hungry developers in connivance with local councils."

Although the party has been largely dormant in the county for many years, there is history of Communist activity over the years.

The party was represented on Leiston Town Council for several years - although that was always seen as a personal vote for good local councillors rather than an indication that the town was particularly revolutionary.