A Month In The Life Of...
Liz Harsant was elected Councillor in 2002 to represent Holywells Ward and in 2004 became Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, in a joint administration (Conservatives /Lib Dems) for 6½ years. Amongst other things, community spirit is one of the reasons that Liz writes for Waterfront Life.
Well this is a difficult article to write. On the 18th of April Theresa May called a General Election. Here we were fighting the Suffolk County Council election with just 2 weeks to go. I felt confused as to why the Prime Minister would want to do this; she had a mandate to negotiate Brexit and she seemed a popular leader.
I had booked a holiday in Spain almost a year ago - and with friends - so it couldn’t be cancelled or changed. A week before I left I fell flat on my face and ended up with two black eyes and although nothing broken, felt pretty miserable, rather shaken and a little unwell. Not like me!
I returned from my holiday and Ben Gummer had arrived in Ipswich and was busy writing the manifesto. At that time we were all optimistic that there was absolutely no reason why Ben wouldn’t increase his majority. Nearly everyone spoke highly of him on the doorstep and then the Manifesto was published! Oh dear. Ben and I had in the past not always agreed on certain subjects but I was shocked by its contents.
So then that horrible night. I hadn’t really wanted to go to the Count having been away, but there I was and watching the votes from the boxes in my Ward. I knew then it was over. It was one of the most disappointing nights of my life.
Of course, I personally feel sad, but we have Sandy Martin now as MP for Ipswich. We have always got on well and I wish him luck….but he should just reflect that Ben was able to cross all political divides and this is why he was so admired by all people.