Renewed calls for A12 improvements

A CONSERVATIVE shadow cabinet member delayed filming of BBC One's Question Time after getting stuck in traffic on the Suffolk stretch of the A12.

Kate McGrath

A CONSERVATIVE shadow cabinet member delayed filming of BBC One's Question Time after getting stuck in traffic on the Suffolk stretch of the A12.

Andrew Lansley MP arrived in Great Yarmouth for the show an hour later than the rest of the panel and blamed traffic around Ipswich.

A spokesman for the MP said he had misjudged how long it would take to get from Ipswich to Great Yarmouth. He thought it would take an hour, but ended up taking almost two hours.


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His delay has prompted renewed calls for road improvements on the north Suffolk stretch of the road.

Richard Perkins, a director of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Choose Suffolk, said: “The A12 between the A14 and Lowestoft is totally inadequate for the needs of modern business.

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“As someone who runs a business that is based in Lowestoft, I have the unfortunate consequence of using the A12 very frequently.

“There is a desperate need for a bypass north of Ipswich which will allow sustainability for Felixstowe port if difficulties occur on the Orwell Bridge.”

John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, supports plans for a bypass to avoid four villages - Farnham, Stratford, Little Glemham and Martlesford - along the A12.

He said: “It is crucial that we get that bypass.

“I am constantly held up on that road and I am very keen to see an improvement. It is crucial before we see any more traffic on the road with developments at Sizewell. It is also important to Lowestoft which suffers quite high unemployment because the road is one of its links to the world.”

Mr Lansley, who is MP for Cambridgeshire South, left London around 5pm on Thursday after a meeting with the Department of Health about swine flu. It took him nearly two hours to drive from Ipswich to Great Yarmouth.

Question Time's production team has said the show, which is recorded as live for a showing later on Thursday evening, would go without the MP, had he not arrived by the 9pm final deadline.

Host David Dimbleby repeatedly joked that the shadow minister had driven to Lowestoft by mistake and had no satellite navigation system in his car.

At one point he said: “We are in danger of falling asleep with boredom waiting for him.”

But Mr Lansley, who arrived to large cheers from the audience in Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome, set the record when he turned up with just minutes to spare.

He had his make-up applied hurriedly in front of the laughing audience.

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