Prominent Suffolk Ex-Lib Dem to Stand as Christian Democrat in Ipswich election
A prominent Suffolk ex-Lib Dem activist and former parliamentary candidate, Dave Cooper, is to stand as a Christian Democrat in the forthcoming Ipswich by-election after switching his allegiance to the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA). The announcement comes following a visit to the constituency this week of party leader and former London Mayoral candidate, Ram Gidoomal CBE.
Mr Cooper, 54, told a gathering on Wednesday of over twenty key Ipswich church leaders and ministers that the Christian Peoples Alliance now reflected East Anglia's non-conformist conscience. At the meeting at Orwell Church in Ipswich he said both Labour and the Liberal Democrats had moved sharply away from their radical Christian roots and that the CPA were now best-placed to continue that tradition. He paid tribute to the former Labour MP:
"Jamie Cann was a hard-working friend of Ipswich and an independent voice in Parliament who was prepared to stand against trends in his party. Ipswich needs a MP with strong local roots who can continue in those footsteps, not someone moulded by the politics of Millbank. I joined the CPA as it offers voters a commitment to fighting poverty, full support for marriage and family life and a passion for social justice. Promoting a compassionate alternative to Labour and the importance of investing in health and education will be the key themes of my election campaign."
Dave Cooper stood in the 1997 election for the Liberal Democrats in the Suffolk constituency of Bury St Edmunds, winning over 10,000 votes. He had previously been active in the Lib Dems for over 15 years, serving on Suffolk Coastal District Council, where he was Chair of the Health Committee. A resident for over 30 years in Ipswich, Dave and his wife Jackie raised their two daughters in the town and have lived on the Broke Hall Estate for nearly 25 years. Dave was an Ipswich primary school deputy head for over 14 years before becoming the East Anglia Regional Manager for Tearfund, a major Christian relief and development charity working both in the UK and overseas.
The CPA entered elections for the Greater London Authority last year and won votes from 100,000 people living in the capital, qualifying the party for a seat to the new Assembly under complicated PR rules. Speaking to Ipswich church leaders on the prospect of Dave Cooper standing for the CPA, Ram Gidoomal said:
"Ipswich needs a campaigner for Parliament who has integrity and experience of serving the local community. In Dave Cooper, they will have a fighter for justice and compassion who offers a radical alternative to the stale policies of the secular parties."
As a party of direct Christian inspiration, the CPA has received encouragement from across all the main denominations, including Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, Baptist and Free Church leaders. The CPA is linked to Christian Democratic parties across the European continent. In running for Mayor of London, Ram Gidoomal CBE, had support from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh community organisations.