Bury St Edmunds Conservative hopeful Will Tanner has formally launched his general election campaign in the seat with a promise to put it at the heart of his political life.

Until he was selected to contest the seat on Monday evening, Mr Tanner was deputy chief of staff to prime minister Rishi Sunak and was not well known in Suffolk.

He said he had close links to Suffolk because his grandparents had lived in Rishangles, near Eye, and in Stowupland where he had stayed with them as a child.

"I know Bury and Stowmarket, I've visited them many times over the years and I couldn't be more honoured to be chosen to contest the seat.

"If elected my whole emphasis will be working on constituency issues - I do know my way around Westminster so that should help. But the constituency will be my complete focus."

Mr Tanner told his supporters that pushing ahead with the redevelopment of the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, would be at the top of his list of priorities.

"If Labour gets in they have pledged to review major capital projects so it could get pushed back again," he said.

Dr Peter Prinsley said Labour would press ahead with plans to build new hospitals in the region.Dr Peter Prinsley said Labour would press ahead with plans to build new hospitals in the region. (Image: Paul Geater)

That point was rebutted by his Labour opponent Dr Peter Prinsley, an NHS doctor working in local hospitals.

He said: "The difference is that the Conservatives talk about building hospitals and Labour builds them.

"When Labour was in power a new hospital was built in Norwich, a new medical school was created there and waiting lists were almost ended. 

"The Conservatives have been talking about building new hospitals in Bury St Edmunds, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth for years - but all they've done is bring in some steel props to hold up the roof."

He said an incoming Labour government would get on with building the new hospitals as quickly as possible.

A full list of candidates standing in Suffolk can be found here.