Home   Felixstowe   Article

Subscribe Now

Suffolk Coastal General Election 2024 count: Updates from Brackenbury Sports Centre, in Felixstowe





We’re edging closer to declaration here at Suffolk Coastal as the count ramps up

Votes are being tallied at Brackenbury Sports Centre, in Felixstowe, and it looks as though it’s going to be a tight race between Conservative and Labour.

Acting returning officer and East Suffolk Council chief executive Chris Bally has told us we are expecting a declaration within the next half an hour.

Suffolk Coastal candidates Thérèse Coffey (Conservative), Julia Ewart (Liberal Democrat), Julian Cusack (Green) and Jenny Riddell Carpenter; not pictured but also standing is Matthew Paul Jackson (Reform UK). Pictures: Thérèse Coffey, Julia Ewart, Julian Cusack, Jenny Riddell-Carpenter
Suffolk Coastal candidates Thérèse Coffey (Conservative), Julia Ewart (Liberal Democrat), Julian Cusack (Green) and Jenny Riddell Carpenter; not pictured but also standing is Matthew Paul Jackson (Reform UK). Pictures: Thérèse Coffey, Julia Ewart, Julian Cusack, Jenny Riddell-Carpenter

By 10.20pm ballots from wider Felixstowe had arrived and the counters and poll watchers were keenly engaged.

The last set of ballots from Darsham arrived just after midnight, with acting returning officer Chris Bally telling us we will have a final turnout figure very soon.

Just after 1.10am, Mr Bally told us the verified vote count is 49,636 from a total electorate of 74,522, making for a turnout of 66.6 per cent. 13,776 ballots were postal, while 35,860 were from polling stations. This makes for a nearly 5 per cent decrease in the turnout.

13,776 ballots were postal, while 35,860 were from polling stations. This makes for a nearly 5 per cent decrease in the turnout.

Those standing for the seat, held by Conservative MP Dr Thérèse Coffey since 2010, are:

- Thérèse Coffey (Conservative)
- Jenny Riddell-Carpenter (Labour)
- Julian Cusack (Green)
- Julia Ewart (Liberal Democrat)
- Matthew Paul Jackson (Reform UK)

Thérèse Coffey, Conservative candidate, said: "Well clearly turnout is down which isn't good news.

“It seems Reform have done very well but we'll just have to see what the final result is.

“It's been a difficult night for my party. (Suffolk Coastal) is a great place to be regardless of the outcome."

Julia Ewart, Liberal Democrat candidate said at 2.30am: "We've worked very hard on the campaign and had a great response locally.

“I think it's clear that Reform are the disruptors. I think it's fair to say it's a freight train that has come through the Conservative vote.

“But there's a challenge with it - that is, I have been to four hustings and never seen the reform candidate.

“It will be what it will be. Jenny has been a pleasure to work with and we're both very honest, which I think is very important."

Jenny Riddell-Carpenter has arrived at the Suffolk Coastal count, but is not speaking to the media at this time. We are expecting to be able to speak to her after the declaration.

Julian Cusack, Green candidate, said at 1.15am: “I think at the moment it's very unclear how the results are going to be so we have to wait and see as the votes pile up over the next hour or so.

With regards to the wider national picture he said: "I hope we'll get our four targets.

“We certainly could not have put more effort into Waveney Valley - I was there myself this morning - and Green Party members from across the country were there.

“The strength of the Reform vote is surprising everybody and I think we'll see that here as well."

Exit polls have predicted Labour will take 410 seats, with the Conservatives reduced to 131 while the Liberal Democrats are predicted to take 61 seats.

Mike Deacon (Labour), Felixstowe town councillor, said: "I'm very happy so far. I'm a bit of a pessimist so I feel not unhappy, but I never count my chickens.

“The country is crying out for change, quite literally. If Jenny was elected I'm absolutely convinced she would be truly representative of the constituency, with a permanent office in Felixstowe and other satellite offices - she would be present.

“I'm utterly convinced, knowing her for some time, she would be a first class MP for us."

David Beavan, Independent councillor for Southwold, Reydon and Walberswick, said: "The polls overestimated Labour support but it's definitely a landslide against the government.

“I think Suffolk Coastal will stay as it is as the opposition is split so I don't see anything to change that, but we'll see in four hours time."

Earlier in the night, Mr Cusack said: “I'm feeling that the exit poll is saying it's going to be a Labour government.

“I very much hope that across the country the Green Party will be able to get a handful of MPs to help keep the Labour government focused on climate change, the crisis in nature and other things that concern us.

“I hope I will be one of those.

“I used to be a member of the Labour Party in the 1980s, and it is hugely preferable in culture and heritage and its care for working people and working families.

“It holds no fears for me compared to a Conservative government.”

Dr Coffey won the seat in 2019 with over half the vote share (56.5 per cent, 32,958) and a majority of 20,533.

Despite the large numbers, this was a slight decrease on her 2017 win of 1.5 per cent.

Labour was the second largest party in 2019, with Cameron Matthews scoring 12,425 votes, 21.3 per cent of the total share.

The polls are predicting a tight race in a historically blue seat, with the Conservatives and Labour potentially within a percentage point of each other.

Our reporters are at the majority of the election counts across Suffolk. To read our live blog with updates from the counts, click here.

This story will be updated throughout the night.