Mole's majority cut

LABOUR kept its grip on Suffolk's county town last night, as Chris Mole was re-elected as MP for Ipswich with a reduced majority of 5,332.Mr Mole comfortably saw off the challenges of Conservative Paul West and Liberal Democrat Richard Atkins – both members of the borough council's ruling coalition.

LABOUR kept its grip on Suffolk's county town last night, as Chris Mole was re-elected as MP for Ipswich with a reduced majority of 5,332.

Mr Mole comfortably saw off the challenges of Conservative Paul West and Liberal Democrat Richard Atkins – both members of the borough council's ruling coalition.

A total of 18,336 people voted for the Labour candidate, who was defending an 8,081 majority inherited from Jamie Cann.

A by-election prompted by the death of Mr Cann in 2001 saw Mr Mole first win the seat by 4,087 with a reduced majority – but for general election purposes by-election results are discounted.


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Last night, the former leader of Suffolk County Council saw his majority slip, with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats gaining votes.

Mr Mole, 47, who is married with two children, said: "I sense that we fought very clearly on the Government's achievements on the economy, public services and our commitment to making life better for hard working people and pensioners.

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"As we have a good team in Ipswich we have been able to get that message over clear and we have seen a good result.

"It means I can build on many of the things I did in the first three-and-a-half years.

"I am so pleased that we have got the university here in Ipswich, which I worked hard for.

"I will now work hard for as many affordable homes in the towns for those families that come to see me that really need somewhere bigger and better than they live at the moment. I want to work on projects in Parliament to do with sustainable energy and energy efficient homes. So I have plenty to keep me busy."

Mr West received 13,004 votes compared with 7,794 he won when he previously stood against Mr Mole in the by-election.

He said: "I am obviously disappointed with the result in Ipswich as we fight to win – that's why we are in the business of politics.

"We fought a good campaign with a good team of volunteers, which worked incredibly hard. We have bettered our result of three-and-a-half years ago, it increased by 5,000, which in itself is something to be pleased about. What we have got to do now is look at how to take this forward."

Mr Atkins said: "It would have been nice to win but the fact that our vote is up so significantly is hugely positive for us.

"We have gained 43.4% since the General Election in 2001, which is a massive jump giving the closeness of some of the borough results we have had in the past.

"It gives us lots of confidence for the 12 months from now. It is extremely encouraging and we are delighted to get nearly 8,500 votes. It proves that three party politics is alive and well and truly here in Ipswich to stay."

IPSWICH

*Christopher Mole (Lab) 18,336

Paul West (Con) 13,004

Richard Atkins (LD) 8,464

Alison West (UKIP) 1,134

Jervis Kay (ED) 641

Sally Wainman (Ind) 299

Majority 5,332

No change

Turnout: 61.51%

2001 result: Labour maj 8,081

2001 by-election result:

Labour maj 4,087

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