South Suffolk: Yeo gets backing from the county’s MPs

South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo

South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo - Credit: Archant

Under-pressure South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo has received the backing of his fellow MPs from the county as he fights for his political life.

Members of his constituency executive decided at the end of November not to re-adopt him to fight the safe Conservative seat at the next general election.

However Mr Yeo decided to use his right to call a ballot of all party members in his constituency in an attempt to gain the Conservative nomination for next year’s general election.

That ballot opens on January 20 and the result will be declared by national officials of the party on February 3.

Now the six other MPs in Suffolk have sent a letter to Mr Yeo expressing their support for him in his battle to be re-selected.

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The letter was drafted by Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who is a junior health minister, and was signed by all the other MPs.

Dr Poulter said that five of the county’s seven MPs were new at the last general election, and they had found Mr Yeo’s experience – he was first elected to parliament in 1983 – invaluable.

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He said: “Tim has been invaluable in working to bring us together as a group representing the county in a number of issues.

“He was very important in working behind the scenes to ensure that there was money available to extend broadband to rural parts of the county and on issues like ensuring electricity cables were put underground.”

Mr Yeo had also been successful campaigning on issues that were unique to his constituency.

Dr Poulter said: “When I was first elected I worked with him because he was involved in the campaign for the Walnuttree Hospital and I was involved in the campaign for Eye Hospital. That was very important for our constituents.”

He also rejected concerns that Mr Yeo’s age could count against him – he will be 70 next year: “He has a lot of fuel left in the tank. He remains very active,” Dr Poulter added.

However the MPs’ intervention may not go down well among Conservatives in Mr Yeo’s South Suffolk constituency, said one member of the executive.

Simon Barrett is vice-chairman of Babergh council’s policy committee and a member of the South Suffolk Conservative Association executive.

He said: “The MPs need to be careful. There are strict rules about canvassing – the executive is not allowed to make any statement about the vote. This is a matter for the South Suffolk Conservative Association members only.”

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