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Meet the three men hoping to be Ipswich’s next Tory MP – who will take on Sandy Martin at the next election?

PUBLISHED: 12:07 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:06 25 September 2018

Alex Deane is seeking the Conservative nomination to fight the Ipswich parliamentary seat. Picture: ALEX DEANE

Alex Deane is seeking the Conservative nomination to fight the Ipswich parliamentary seat. Picture: ALEX DEANE


Ipswich Conservatives are to select a candidate on Thursday to take on Sandy Martin in the marginal seat at the next general election.

Tom Hunt. Picture: TOM HUNTTom Hunt. Picture: TOM HUNT

Three men have been included on the shortlist for the selection meeting of Ipswich Conservative members – the party is not running an open selection such as the one that chose Ben Gummer as its candidate in 2007.

The three candidates this time are Suffolk-based Alex Deane who runs a public affairs company, Harlow councillor Joel Charles and Tom Hunt who is chief of staff to James Palmer, the elected mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Ipswich Conservative Association is keen to get a parliamentary candidate in place to get his name known around the town in the run-up to the next election – and to have someone ready to fight in case there is an early General Election.

Mr Deane is a well-known figure and regularly appears on the Sky News as one of its newspaper reviewers. He applied to fight the Bury St Edmunds seat before Jo Churchill was selected, but was not on the final shortlist.

Joel Charles. Picture: JOEL CHARLESJoel Charles. Picture: JOEL CHARLES

He said: “I know Ipswich very well and it pains me that our county town was taken by a Labour MP who doesn’t seem to be fighting for major projects that are needed to allow it to reach its full potential. I want to see Ipswich prosper in the future.”

Tom Hunt lives in Ely and his family lives in Bury St Edmunds. In his role in Cambridgeshire he had been working to improve infrastructure in the region and felt that this was also a very important issue for Ipswich.

He said: “I have been out campaigning with the members in Ipswich, people like Liz Harsant, my priorities for Ipswich are infrastructure, improving the town’s schools, and fighting crime.”

Joel Charles, who is deputy leader of the Conservative group on Harlow council, has produced a 10-point list of priorities for Ipswich.

These including backing Brexit with no second referendum, supporting education, supporting the NHS in the town, helping business, fighting crime, supporting home-buyers, improving infrastructure – including the northern relief road and Upper Orwell Crossings, regenerating the town centre, supporting the charity and voluntary sector, and being an active supporter of Ipswich Town.

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