Ely-born Tom Hunt - until now Mayor James Palmer's chief of staff - is the new Conservative MP for Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 18:39 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:39 13 December 2019

Ely-born Tom Hunt is the new MP for Ipswich after the Conservative candidate defeated Labour’s Sandy Martin by 5,479 votes. Tom Hunt accepts his election as new MP for Ipswich. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Ely-born Tom Hunt is the new MP for Ipswich after the Conservative candidate defeated Labour's Sandy Martin by 5,479 votes. Tom Hunt accepts his election as new MP for Ipswich. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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He's tasted defeat - both in Parliamentary and European elections - but after a successful stint as a district and county councillor, Ely-born Tom Hunt has become the MP for Ipswich.

He's tasted defeat - both in Parliamentary and European elections - but after a successful stint as a district and county councillor, Ely-born Tom Hunt has become the MP for Ipswich.

The one-time media manager for the pressure group the Countryside Alliance and for the past two and half years chief of staff to metro mayor James Palmer, Mr Hunt won the seat for the Conservatives with a majority of 5,479 votes.

The Ely-born son of local councillor Bill Hunt, he defeated the former Labour MP Sandy Martin having polled 24,952 votes.

Mr Hunt went to university in Manchester and then Oxford and was chosen to fight the Ipswich parliamentary seat for the Conservatives more than a year ago, and has been living in the town for some time.

One of his major campaigns during the election was his call for tougher sentences for those who are found guilty of serious crimes. He said Ipswich hadn't had a fair deal in the past when it comes to police funding.

He says he is a supporter of increasing apprenticeship and technical education opportunities, and has urged more support for those with special educational needs and learning disabilities as well as fairer funding for Suffolk schools.

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"When I was at school I had special educational needs and this is something very close to my heart," he said.

"We need to ensure that schools have the funding and freedoms they need to enable those with special educational needs to flourish."

Mr Hunt was first elected as a Conservative councillor for the Ely south ward in May 2011 and was re elected in May 2015.

He later stood down for what was described as a "politically sensitive role" with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

"The decision to stand down mid term is neither an easy one nor one that I've taken lightly," he said.

"However, it's my belief that the chance to make a meaningful contribution at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority over the next few years represents a unique opportunity and one that I'm keen not to miss.

"I've long been a supporter of the Government's devolution agenda, always believing that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they effect."

He said that "on a personal level, I was very proud to have passed a motion at full council for the Union flag to fly from the flag pole at the council on a permanent basis."

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