Rizzo out on the hustings

THE campaign to become John Gummer’s successor in Suffolk Coastal has taken to four legs as Conservative candidate Therese Coffey takes her dog on the stump.

Rizzo might be getting on in years, but he is an enthusiastic canvasser and soon makes friends with voters on their doorstep, which was especially evident on his recent visit to Waldringfield.

“He’s an ice breaker,” says Therese, who is aiming to become the first woman MP in Suffolk’s history.

“Voters warm to him and many take more notice of Rizzo than do me!”

I wonder if Rizzo’s powerful nose has hunted out the second home in Waldringfield owned by deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman and her husband Jack Dromey.

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BABY-FACED TORIES: Two of the new Conservative candidates in Suffolk are both just 31 years old. And it is gynaecologist Dr Dan Poulter who will become the youngest MP in the county if he’s elected for Suffolk Central & Ipswich North.

Just a few weeks separate his birthday from that of Matt Hancock – Shadow Chancellor George Osborne’s chief of staff – who is battling to take over Richard Spring’s Suffolk West constituency.

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While Dr Poulter ties the knot later this year, Mr Hancock has beaten him – he already has a wife and two children. And don’t bet against both of them eventually becoming Cabinet ministers in any future Conservative government.

HELLO AGAIN: Familiar names have popped up on the ballot paper for the Liberal Democrats. The party has chosen Dr James Raven to battle Bernard Jenkin in Harwich & Essex North, having previously stood in the former constituencies of Colchester North and Essex North.

Elfreda Tealby-Watson has the Herculean task of trying to take Maldon off Tory John Whittingdale after twice contesting Saffron Walden, and former Uttlesford district council leader Alan Dean has headed over the border to intervene in what looks to be a close contest between Labour and the Tories in Waveney.

PULLING IN THE PINTS IN CHELMSFORD: Excellent news for folk turned off by politics in the Chelmsford constituency, but who still think it is their constitutional duty to head for the polling station. Ben Sherman has entered the lists as the candidate for the Reduce Tax on Beer Party. I bet he holds a post election get together at which sweet sherry will not be on offer.

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