You may have noticed amongst all the debacle with Brexit and Boris Johnson’s lost majority in the Commons, and not having learned anything from Mrs May’s abortive attempt to increase her majority in 2017, that the government has decided the only way out is holding yet another General Election. So on Thursday December 12th we once again go to the polls.
On a more serious note – as a believer in democracy and having studied the various campaigns to achieve the vote, especially women’s suffrage, I feel that we are all duty bound to vote – but that our vote should be an informed one.
Churches Together have organised an Election Hustings at The Salvation Army in Felixstowe on Sunday 24th November at 7pm. All five candidates will be at the hustings to make their case for your vote and answer your questions. You can send questions to E27mark@gmx.co.uk , but there will also be a chance to put questions from the floor on the evening.
So who is standing? Although Suffolk Coastal has been Tory since before Noah built the ark – and is unlikely to change colour in this election – my belief is that every vote counts – whether it be one to endorse or protest against the current MP or the current government.
Below is a list of those standing in Suffolk Coastal – and as much that is relevant about them as I could discover:
COFFEY Therese Anne -Conservative
Born 18 November 1971, Therese was first elected as Member of Parliament for the Suffolk Coastal constituency at the 2010 general election , taking over a very safe seat from John Selwin Gummer and becoming the first female MP for this constituency. She retained her seat at the two successive elections in 2015 and 2017. She is defending a majority of 16,000 over Labour.
She has served as Environment Minister, Deputy Leader of the House, Government Whip and Parliamentary Private Secretary. On entering Parliament, her first position was as a member of the Culture, Olympics, Media and Sports Committee. Her last job in the Government was short lived – Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, appointed in September 2019.
Thérèse has campaigned on stopping the A14 toll, improving NHS experience for patients including trying to address the access problems at Felixstowe MIU and better broadband. Ongoing priorities include fairer share of funding, Sizewell C, Felixstowe Port, preventing coastal and estuary erosion, off gas grid consumers, rail improvements, agriculture, and improving skills and education.
Thérèse grew up in the North West and after graduating from UCL with a PhD in Chemistry, joined the international company Mars. Qualified as a chartered management accountant, she became Finance Director for a UK subsidiary and has also worked at the BBC. Outside politics, she enjoys watching football, gardening, is a CAMRA member and enjoys music, especially Muse.
EWART Jules – Liberal Democrats – (lives in Kelsale Cum Carlton, Saxmundham)
Originally from Yorkshire, Jules Ewart has lived in Suffolk since 1996. She lives with her family near to Saxmundham where she owns a local design business that deals with Europe on a day to day basis.
Jules is a trained nurse and was recently selected as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Suffolk Coastal. She was Chair of Suffolk EU Alliance after the EU Referendum.
Jules’s particular concerns include access to and delivery of rural education, sustainable and affordable transport, public health, sustainable living, welfare and the economy.
She spends her small amount of spare time enjoying a mix of great music, cooking with locally grown ingredients and photography.
LOVE Tony – Independent – (lives in the Suffolk Coastal constituency)
Businessman Tony Love was originally the Brexit Party candidate until Nigel Farage bowed to pressure from the Conservatives and withdrew from Tory safe seats. Love said he was angered by the decision – and hence would still be putting his name forward as an Independent Brexit candidate in the General Election . He has a Brexit party shop in Felixstowe and is often in attendance to answer any questions.
MATTHEWS Cameron Graham – Labour Party – (lives in Ipswich)
Cameron, 37, is a frontline firefighter in the East of England. He is originally from Felixstowe, where he attended Orwell High School, and now lives in Ipswich.
Cameron was also Labour’s candidate for Suffolk Coastal in 2017 when he achieved the highest vote share for the party in a General Election since 2001.
“I’m delighted and honoured to have been selected again as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in Suffolk Coastal. As a local working-class lad, born and bred, this is where my hometown is. This is where I went to school. This is where family and friends live. But as we all know our towns and villages up and down the stunning Suffolk coast are being left behind due to savage cuts and years of under investment. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can change it. We can build a better future for all. Together we can give Suffolk Coastal the profile and investment it deserves through Labour’s Green New Deal.”
SMITH-LYTE Rachel Anne – Green Party (lives in Woodbridge)
Rachel grew up in Woodbridge, went to school at Farlingaye High and works in HR for Ipswich council. In 2019 she was elected to East Suffolk Council as the Green Party candidate for Melton
She describes herself as: ‘a Green Party District Councillor, XR activist. Free thinker. Humanitarian. Wildlife lover, wild swimmer, dancer, own views.’
She is very concerned about climate change and delivered the motion which led to East Suffolk Council’s declaring a Climate Emergency this year. She is a member of Extinction Rebellion
Rachel’s position on Brexit is clear – Yes to a People’s Vote, Yes to campaigning for the UK to Remain in Europe. Rachel and the Greens have consistently argued for a People’s Vote to prevent a Brexit that will be a disaster for workers, environmental protections, and the economy.
How The Votes Panned Out Last Time
|Conservative||Therese Coffey||Votes33,713||Vote Share58.1||Net percentage change in seats+6.1|
|Cameron Matthews||Votes17,701||Vote Share30.5||Net percentage change in seats+12.5|
|James Sandbach||Votes4,048||Vote Share7.0||Net percentage change in seats-1.6|
|Eamonn O’Nolan||Votes1,802||Vote share3.1||Net percentage change in seats-2.8|
|Philip Young||Votes810||Vote share1.4||Net percentage change in seats+1.4|