The build-up to the 2015 General Election is in full swing following the announcement of the prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) across the Diss Express area.
Returning candidates as well as a slew of first-time nominees have been confirmed for the race for seats in the South Norfolk, South West Norfolk, and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituencies, as the voting date of May 7 fast approaches.
In South Norfolk, five PPCs were put forward, including the incumbent Conservative Party MP Richard Bacon, who is looking to serve a fourth consecutive term in the seat.
Among those challenging Mr Bacon, who held the seat with a majority of almost 11,000 votes at the last General Election, is the Liberal Democrat candidate Jacky Howe – the only other PPC who also ran for South Norfolk in 2010.
The others running for the seat are Deborah Sacks, a planning consultant and chartered surveyor representing Labour, businessman and school governor Barry Cameron, on behalf of UKIP, and philosophy professor Catherine Rowett, of the Green Party.
In Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Framlingham resident Dr Dan Poulter of the Conservatives aims to retain the seat he won in the 2010 election, when he secured more than 27,000 of the 53,420 votes cast.
Mr Poulter faces challenges from five other candidates, all standing in the constituency for the first time, including one of the youngest contenders in the country, Labour’s 24-year-old Jack Abbott, who lives in Debenham.
Jon Neal, a director of an agricultural communications agency in Woodbridge, is the Liberal Democrat candidate, whilst driving instructor Mark Cole, former chairman of UKIP Harwich and North Essex, will stand for UKIP.
Rhodri Griffiths will represent the Greens.
The English Democrats will contest the seat for the first time, with Tony Holyoak selected as its PPC.
In South West Norfolk, Elizabeth Truss won in 2010 with a majority of more than 13,000 votes over the Liberal Democrat candidate, Kenninghall’s Stephen Gordon.
Ms Truss is standing once more, but the Liberal Democrats are putting forward Rupert Moss-Eccardt, described as an “experienced campaigner.”
Labour once again are fielding Peter Smith, while UKIP are putting up Paul Smyth, and the Green Party candidate will be Sandra Walmsley.