Archaeologist and former “Time Team” expert Helen Geake is among the candidates who will stand in Suffolk during the General Election next May the Green Party has announced.

Helen Geake, a specialist in the Anglo Saxon period who is well known for her work with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and RESCUE as well as for appearances on “Time Team”, gave her reasons for standing in the Bury St Edmunds constituency in a statement quoted on the Mid Suffolk Green Party Facebook page.

ATT00003Helen Geake

Helen Geake  [Picture:  The Green Party from Facebook]

“Being an archaeologist helps me take the long view and I can see the effect of human activity on our environment across thousands of years. The long view of history also shows how inequalities have blighted the lives of many, and allows us to use past experience to build a better world with fairness and prosperity for everyone.”
“I decided to stand for the Green Party because as a parent I have also become increasingly conscious of the future, and the state of the world we will hand on to our descendants.”

Ms Geake and her family live in the constituency.

While political analysts argue that the Green Party will always struggle to return MP’s in a “first past the post” election system, the Party did succeed in returning its first MP, Caroline Lucas, in the 2010 General Election, in Brighton and according to some recent surveys it is even out polling the Liberal Democrats. It is also the case that the Green Party polls strongly in particular areas of the Country including parts of East Anglia.

The Bury St Edmunds constituency had just short of 86,000 electors at the 2010 General Election and the Seat was held by Conservative candidate David Ruffley with a majority of 12,380.  However, in July 2014 Mr Ruffley announced he would be standing down thanks to a “protracted media debate” about his future, prompted amongst other things by a Police Caution which Mr Ruffley received for common assault against his former partner. The Conservative Party Chief Whip Michael Gove was considering taking disciplinary action against the MP when he took the decision to stand down.

Earlier this month the Conservatives chose County Councillor Jo Edwards as the new candidate for the constituency and given that Mr Ruffley polled 47.5% of the vote in 2010 and the previous Green candidate polled just 4.3% , the odds are that the Conservatives will be returned. However, it is likely that next years contest will be closer.

In 2010 UKIP polled just over 5% in Bury St Edmunds and the Liberal Democrats came second on 26.4%. However, with the Conservative vote generally seen as vulnerable to UKIP, particularly in a largely rural area like East Anglia and with the current level of dissatisfaction with both the junior coalition party the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party, which came third in 2010, showing up in national opinion poll ratings, there will be a lot of votes in Bury St Edmunds up for grabs.

If Helen Geake were to be elected she would join two other high profile archaeologists in Parliament. Lord Renfrew who sits for the Conservatives in the House of Lords, and who has been outspoken on issues such as the trafficking of antiquities and the attempts by Odyssey Marine Excavation to salvage HMS Victory, and Jenny Jones, also of the London Assembly and a former Deputy Mayor of London who took up a seat in the Lords as a Life Peer representing the Green Party in 2013.

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