Suffolk Chamber is pressing ahead with a programme of evening online hustings across the county ahead of the general election.

Parliamentary candidates in West Suffolk, Waveney Valley and Lowestoft will get a grilling from its members - but the chamber has so far been unable to secure a suitable date for Ipswich due to candidate availability.

Among the candidates in the marginal Conservative seat held by Tom Hunt is the sitting MP and Labour hopeful Jack Abbott.

The chamber was hoping to co-host a physical Ipswich hustings along with the University of Suffolk, Suffolk New College and Ipswich Central.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The event had been postponed due to "candidate availability" but talks are under way to stage an online version instead, it said.

The chamber has compiled its own 15-point "manifesto" and is currently surveying all the county's parliamentary candidates to gauge their level of support for its priorities.

The research results will be shared with members initially and then the whole of the county’s business community to help them make informed electoral decisions.

Among the key commitments it is hoping to secure is prioritisation of rail upgrades at Haughley and Ely Junctions, A14 road improvements including to the Orwell Bridge and Copdock Interchange, and the scrapping of business rates in favour of a sales or turnover tax.

Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said: “In an ideal world, we would like to have hosted one event in each of the eight constituencies in the county, but the compacted campaign period, combined with the busy diaries of candidates, was always likely to make that a challenge.

“However, these three online hustings offer the perfect opportunity for all interested Suffolk Chamber members, regardless of their location, to quiz the candidates as to their party’s policies for business.

“We have declared that this particular General Election is a pivotal one for a pivotal county and it is essential that the voice of business is directly heard by these and other candidates.”

Head of public affairs Paul Simon said the hustings offered an additional forum for business to hold politics to account.

“Our campaigning and advocacy work on behalf of the county’s business is well known and ongoing," he said.

The first of the hustings will be for West Suffolk on June 18 followed by Waveney Valley on June 19 and Lowestoft on June 24.

Suffolk Chamber members can reserve their places by going to: