The waiting is over

Election candidates across East Anglia start campaigning

CANDIDATES across the region were quick off the starting blocks yesterday, with many opening their campaigns within minutes of the Prime Minister’s official announcement of May 6 as polling day.

The Green Party in Bury St Edmunds despatched volunteers to start distributing 52,000 election leaflets and candidate Mark Ereira-Guyer said: “My clear aim is to tell voters that there is a credible alternative to the mainstream parties.

“I am very excited. There’s a good feeling in the air.”

In Bury town centre, Lord Phillips of Sudbury opened officially the Lib Dems’ campaign headquarters. Candidate David Chappell said: “This reflects the significant level of support for the Lib Dems in Bury and the whole of Suffolk.”

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Supported by the party’s candidate for West Suffolk Dr Bel Brooks-Gordon, Mr Chappell said: “We are in a position to give the voters a real choice, confident that in the event of a hung parliament they will see real change.”

Matt Hancock, who is standing for the Tories in West Suffolk, was campaigning outside Newmarket railway station. “I’m so glad the waiting is over. The party nationally has a good platform to encourage voters to get rid of this government.”

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Liberal Democrat activists in the Harwich & Essex North seat immediately confirmed that Professor James Raven would be their candidate. At his adoption meeting, he promised a campaign that would “help to restore trust in politics and address the economic issues facing the country and this constituency.”

Tim Yeo, who has been MP for South Suffolk since 1983, said the public would be relieved the phoney war was over. “There is a danger of saturation coverage during the next four wqeeks, but the choice people have to make is so important.

“Voters will have to decide which party can put Britain back on a growth path with good quality, well paid jobs. I am confident the Conservatives will achieve a working majority.”

Dr Dan Poulter, the candidate Tories in Suffolk Central & Ipswich North have selected to succeed Sir Michael Lord who is retirning after 27 years as an MP, received an early boost when former minister Edwina Currie announced she would be attending a campaign meeting in Kesgrave tomorrow night <Thursday> on his behalf.

“I have worked closely with Edwina to raise funds on behalf of victims of domestic violence and also the Help for Heroes campaign. I am very pleased she has decided to campaign on my behalf,” said Dr Poulter.

While shoppers in Ipswich town centre were being handed leaflets by Tory hopeful Ben Gummer, the town’s Labour MP Chris Mole said: “This election presents a choice for the people of Ipswich between investing in frontline services for our town or cutting too fast and too quickly, which would threaten our economic recoveery.

“Ipswich people are already benefitng from new schools, free bus fares for pensioners, and the new Garrett Anderson Centre at the hospital.

“Re-electing a Labour government will mean every high school in Ipswich will be rebuiltor refurbished in the next five years.”

Adam Leeder, who is contesting Suffolk Coastal for Labour, said: “After decades of a Conservative MP, it is time for a change in Coastal.

“As a local candidate, I know the issues that face people in our area. When people ask me what I’m standing for, my answer is simple - more affordable housing, better jobs for our young people and more renewable energy off our coast.”

In Chelmsford, Lib Dem Stepehen Robinson said: “Labour is on the way out. People are desperate for real change, but they will not get that from the Conservatives.

“The two old parties are part of the problem, not the solution.”

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