At a meeting of Labour members in Ipswich today, Jack Abbott was selected to be the prospective parliamentary candidate. The Suffolk county town is number 63 on Labour’s list of target seats. It’s currently held by Tory, Tom Hunt.
Abbott was previously a Suffolk County Councillor acting as Labour Group spokesperson for Children’s Services, Education and Skills.
“Back Jack” for prospective parliamentary candidate
When he launched his “Back Jack” candidate campaign at DanceEast in June, Abbott pledged leadership, unity and ambition. He spoke about his vision for the town, highlighting his desire to tackle rising levels of poverty and building a new, green economy in Ipswich.
Abbott’s website says, ‘It’s time that Ipswich has an MP who genuinely loves the town, who wants to see its people thrive and looks to bring communities together, not drive them apart.’
Tom Hunt has been a controversial MP who has blamed asylum seekers for shortages of school places, GP appointments and affordable homes. He also opposed Ipswich Borough Council’s bid to gain city status as part of 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Neighbouring Colchester – similar in size and demographics – was successful.
Ipswich swing seat
The constituency of Ipswich is a swing seat which Labour has won nine times since 1974, to the Tory’s four. Labour has run Ipswich Borough Council almost continuously since 1979, other than 2004 – 2011 when a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition held it. In the May elections this year, Labour won two wards from the Tories.
Speaking at his launch event, Jack said: “I am so grateful for the support of friends in Ipswich and across Suffolk. For someone who first moved to Suffolk 20 years ago, who has been campaigning in Ipswich for a decade, I can’t tell you how much it means to have been backed by so many councillors, members, unions and affiliates, and people of all political stripes and none. It shows that we have the movement to win here in Ipswich.
“People came because they want change, because they feel Ipswich deserves better, and because they believe in hope over hate. We are all invested in what happens next. If I’m fortunate to be selected as Labour’s candidate at the next General Election, it might be my face on the leaflets, and my name on the ballot paper, but this is about all of us.”
With the Conservatives consistently trailing Labour in the polls this year, and having recently lost several key by-elections with historic swings, Labour stands a good chance of winning back the seat at the next General Election.
Disclosure: Jack played a key role in launching East Anglia Bylines, and worked on the editorial team for our first eight months. He’s written a number of articles, many focused on children’s issues in Suffolk.
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