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Keen contest for vacant seat

PUBLISHED: 12:17 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 06 July 2010

WITH just days until polling day, the five candidates vying for the Suffolk Coastal seat are stepping up their campaign for votes.

This year constituents will get a new MP for the first time for 27 years after Conservative John Gummer stood down.

WITH just days until polling day, the five candidates vying for the Suffolk Coastal seat are stepping up their campaign for votes.

This year constituents will get a new MP for the first time for 27 years after Conservative John Gummer stood down.

But although it is considered one of the safest Tory seats in the country, Tory candidate Therese Coffey, says she is not taking anything for granted. “I do feel positive and optimistic,” she said. “We are getting a good response on the doorstep, but I am not taking the seat for granted and I am not being complacent.

She said she had found a variety of concerns on the doorstep, including the new health centre for Reydon which will mean the closure of the GP surgery in Southwold, worry at the move from three-tier to two-tier education, and coastal erosion.

“It is ridiculous that we spending tens of millions on consultations and doing very little to maintain the defences. We need to implement local solutions and stop the quangos in central government blocking this,” she said.

Labour candidate Adam Leeder said he was also encouraged by how the campaign had been going.

“In terms of how the campaign is going generally I think it has been very encouraging,” he said. “We recently had a stall in the street in Halesworth and we had a petition trying to end council tax discounts for second home owners and we got a very good response. We have got our message about what Labour does and will do for Suffolk Coastal across.

“It is an incredibly challenging seat for a Labour candidate, but from the responses we have had it has been very encouraging.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Daisy Cooper also believes she is in with a chance.

“I am feeling incredibly positive,” she said. “We have been working incredibly hard and it is bearing fruit. People are recognising me and know my name. This election really is wide open. Since selection of candidates in November the goalposts have changed significantly, firstly with John Gummer standing down and then the Clegg Effect, which came as a real boost.”

UKIP candidate Professor Stephen Bush says that membership of the EU costs British taxpayers billions of pounds a year which would be better directed at improving the public services.

“I am picking up more support from Labour voters than Conservatives, which is a surprise,” he added. “If the people of Suffolk Coastal elect me, they will get a genuinely different voice.”

The Green Party has fielded Rachel Fulcher as its candidate. She said: “I am feeling very positive. We have been gathering quite a lot of old Labour supporters. They feel disenfranchised. Labour has moved more towards the centre and they realise the Green Party has a really strong social agenda. People are so fed up of the three main parties they really want something different.”

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