Suffolk: Cabinet ministers give backing to South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo’s battle to fight the next election

Tim Yeo and Chancellor George Osborne outside Number 11 Downing Street.

Tim Yeo and Chancellor George Osborne outside Number 11 Downing Street. - Credit: Archant

Two cabinet ministers have thrown their weight behind Suffolk MP Tim Yeo’s fight against de-selection for the next general election.

Chancellor George Osborne and education secretary Michael Gove have written letters of support to the Tory veteran, who has used his right to call a ballot of party members in his constituency after the executive decided at the end of November not to re-adopt him to fight the safe Tory seat.

In his letter Mr Osborne described Mr Yeo, who has been the MP for South Suffolk since 1983. as a “politician of principle”, who has “a deep understanding of the countryside and farming”.

It comes just days after the other Suffolk MPs co-signed a letter, drafted by Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP and health minister Dr Dan Poulter, supporting Mr Yeo.

He said: “We need people like you in parliament. Experienced, conscientious, thoughtful, loyal and steady under fire. It would be a real loss to the House of Commons if you were forced to stand down when you still have so much to contribute. The Conservative Party at Westminster would be weaker without you.”

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The education secretary said he would be “very sorry” if Mr Yeo had to leave the House of Commons “prematurely”.

He said: “Tim is a highly respected and immensely experienced member of parliament. In the time that I have known him his work, firstly as a member of the shadow cabinet and latterly as the chair of two select committees, has been extremely valuable.”

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The champion of the new free school policy singled out the campaign for the Stour Valley Community School, one of the first wave of free schools set up after the 2010 election, which he said Mr Yeo had “worked tirelessly to achieve”.

The ballot of South Suffolk Tory party members opens on January 20, and the result will be declared by national officials of the party on February 3.

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