Friday, 9 August 2013

Another sign of the dis-unity in the Suffolk Tory Party?

Yesterday Len Jacklin achieved a great win in Oulton Ward in Waveney (Lowestoft). Winning the seat with a majority of over a 100 from the Tories and UKIP coming a distant third.

I was able to get up to Oulton last week with the Suffolk Labour leader, Sandy Martin and was very impressed with the campaigning – most days they had three sessions and must have spoken to the majority of Oulton. At the time of my visit they had seen little of the Tory team but a number of UKIP leaflets had appeared. They did not even have the legal imprint on them so does make me wonder about their electoral ability, especially when after they lost in Thetford they said it was because Oulton was their target seat!

The day we were in Oulton, the Tory leaflet was also distributed and showed the Tory candidate talking to local residents in two pictures - well not really local residents, one was a picture of her talking to her husband and the other to her agent!

Yesterday, leading Suffolk Tory Colin Noble was tweeting that he was out campaigning; getting the Tory vote out and I also heard that a number of other Suffolk County Councillors were drafted in. This last minute effort was probably helped by the fact that their leader, Mark Bee was also the Tory agent.

But it seems that help was to no avail and was probably swamped by the help Len gained from Labour teams from all over the region. Sandy Martin made a number of trips up the A12 to help and Rushmere Councillor Sandra Gage was there on Election Day which brings me to the thrust of the post – did Mark Bee manage to get any help from the Ipswich Tories?

Alan Murray the only Tory County Councillor (and a Cabinet member) may have visited but I am sure that no Borough councillor or Tory activist managed to get past Kesgrave!

It shows one of the fundamental differences between the local Labour Party in Ipswich and the Tory Party. We are not only united in Ipswich behind David Ellesmere but also believe it is only right that we go out and help our Labour colleagues in Suffolk, from Lowestoft to Cornard, Hadleigh to Sudbury and even beyond the county borders to Thetford and Colchester.

This lack of unity in Suffolk Tory circles does affect the way the the County treat Ipswich and its residents, the PR disaster that the Bishops Hill lights scheme is, just one example. So we have County Tories not interested in what happens in Ipswich- policy wise and Ipswich Tories not willing to go beyond Copdock or Kesgrave to help their Tory friends.

No wonder a leading Essex Tory MP warns that their party is haemorrhaging members, only this week I bumped into a former senior Ipswich Tory councillor who informed me that they had left the party after all the in-fighting – and hinted that if Judy Terry has stayed on as the Chair of the local Tories they would have probably seen membership go down to their lowest ever total!

So low that they may even have to ask Kevin Algar to be a candidate again?

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