I've never known a week of drama like this during a UK election campaign either here in Suffolk or nationally - and as I write this we're only half way through it!

We've had new Tory candidates chosen in Suffolk. Nigel Farage has done yet another flip-flop and turned up down the road in Clacton.  And then we had the big TV debate on Tuesday.

Then there have been all kinds of rumours floating around the country, and indeed locally, that in normal times I'd instantly dismiss as fantasy. But still they persist.

One thing that everyone with an interest in politics is likely to have seen was Tuesday night's leaders' debate on ITV.

Coming after a pretty torrid day for his party on Monday, this really was make or break for Rishi Sunak and his team will be pretty pleased with how it went.

There might not have been a knockout blow - but his hammering on the claim that Labour would cost families an extra £2,000 a year in taxes did cut through.

I wasn't totally impressed by moderator Julie Etchingham - Mr Sunak seemed able to hammer his point about the tax rise into every question but she shut down any debate from Sir Keir on that with: "We'll be discussing tax later."

By the time Sir Keir did have the chance to challenge this claim, Mr Sunak had made it so often that it was already seared into the brains of the viewers.

That was a brilliant tactic by the PM - but he was helped by the ref who wasn't allowing challenges.

The following morning it emerged that civil servants had told ministers they should not be dragged into a party political row with the figures because they were incomplete - but that hadn't stopped the PM and by then the story was out there.

Sir Keir did better in the second half of the debate - on issues including immigration, security and Britain's place in the world.

As I said, Mr Sunak needed a good debate after a miserable Monday for both him and his party.

Nigel Farage's change of mind which led to him standing for Reform UK in Clacton adds a massive wildcard into the election campaign nationally.

And the YouGov MRP poll published an hour earlier - a poll that has been startlingly accurate in the last two general elections - predicted the worst ever result for his party, worse than 1997.

On Monday night Suffolk saw its last two Tory candidates chosen - Patrick Spencer in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich while down the road Downing Street insider Will Tanner was selected to contest Bury St Edmunds.

But all week there have been rumours swirling around Ipswich Conservative Tom Hunt - partly fuelled by a visit to the town by Party Chairman Richard Holden on Saturday.

They were fuelled by an enigmatic posting on his Twitter account and reports from Westminster-based political journalists.

Mr Hunt finally put the record straight on Wednesday morning - but I'm not sure how well his words about wishing Mr Farage and Richard Tice were on the same side as him will go down at Conservative Central Office or among the more centrist Tory voters in the seat!

As I said on my X - formerly Twitter - feed, a candidate is standing for the party that selected him ages ago really shouldn't be a story, but in 2024 it is.

Every general election throws up quirks - we have yet to see the deputy PM punching anyone this year - but this time we do seem to be lurching from one bizarre story to the next.


The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of Paul Geater and do not necessarily reflect views held by this newspaper, its sister publications or its owner and publisher Newsquest Media Group Ltd.