Election latest: Conservative manifesto author Ben Gummer loses his Ipswich seat to Labour

Cabinet Office minister had been tipped for a more senior post

Benjamin Kentish
Friday 09 June 2017 04:18
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General Election 2017: 4AM results

One of the main authors of the Conservatives' 2017 election manifesto has lost his seat.

Ben Gummer, the Cabinet Office Minister, saw his 3,700 majority in Ipswich overturned by Labour, whose candidate Sandy Martin won by just 831 votes.

He received 23,393 votes compared to Ms Martin's 24,224 - a 10.3 per cent increase in Labour's vote since 2015.

Along with one of Theresa May’s chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy, Mr Gummer was responsible for writing the Conservative manifesto and had been widely tipped for a more senior government post if Ms May was re-elected.

Some reports in the days leading up to the election suggested he was even being lined up to be placed in charge of Brexit talks, with David Davis, the current Brexit Secretary, moving to the Foreign Office.

Ukip's vote in Ipswich was down 9 per cent while Labour gained 10.3 per cent - a trend that has been replicated across the country. Labour sources say the results are evidence of how popular their plans to tax businesses and high-earners, and renationalise industry, were with Ukip voters.

It comes amid a disastrous night for the Conservatives, who have lost seats to Labour across the country. Mr Gummer became the second minister to lose their seat after Jane Ellison, a health minister, saw her Battersea constituency switch to Labour.

Other senior Conservatives rumoured to be at risk include Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Anna Soubry, a former business minister.

The general election exit poll predicted that the Tories will win 322 seats compared to Labour's 261, leaving Theresa May just short of a House of Commons majority. That raises the prospect that Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister if he is able to assemble a "rainbow coalition" that includes the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Green Party.

The Conservative manifesto was criticised by some Tory candidates for lacking clear, appealing policies that could be sold to voters on the doorstep. It also contained controversial plans to force elderly people to cover the cost of their own social care - a policy Ms May was forced to announce a partial U-turn on after a public backlash.

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