Over the last couple of weeks there's been a flurry of activity as candidates were slotted into seats where sitting MPs were standing down.

And this has reignited the debate about whether constituency Conservative Associations (and let's be honest in this part of the world all the controversy has surrounded Tory hopefuls) should select local candidates or Westminster insiders.

There are four held seats in Suffolk that need new Tory candidates - three because their sitting MP has stood down and one which is a new seat.

Two of these had new candidates selected months ago - Waveney Valley and West Suffolk - while Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket seat were only filled days before nominations closed.

Both Waveney Valley and Central Suffolk selected candidates who already lived in the county - Richard Rout and Patrick Spencer.

West Suffolk and the Bury constituency chose Westminster insiders Nick Timothy and Will Tanner. They both have family connections to Suffolk - but haven't really made their mark on the county so far.

I've already heard grumbles from Bury St Edmunds about Mr Tanner's lack of local roots - but I have to say he was given a very warm welcome by the area's Conservative activists when I saw him on Saturday morning.

He may have recently been Rishi Sunak's deputy chief of staff, but he was keen to say how much he was looking forward to representing the area and concentrating on local matters.

If he does retain what is generally a safe Tory seat he will have to live up to these promises.

Richard Rout was joined by Cabinet Minister Tom Tugendhat in Waveney Valley.Richard Rout was joined by Cabinet Minister Tom Tugendhat in Waveney Valley. (Image: Paul Geater)

Mr Rout in Waveney Valley is the polar opposite to Mr Tanner's career trajectory thus far - he's been the ultimate Suffolk insider.

Until the middle of last month he was deputy leader of Suffolk County Council and he's been well known in local circles.

So would that make him a better local MP than an incomer?

Well in my experience it's very difficult to come to any conclusions about whether local or outsider MPs are better for constituents.

Two of the most outstanding constituency MPs I have seen during my career were "outsiders" when they were first selected to stand.

Ken Weetch was an FE teacher from Bishops Stortford when he won Ipswich for Labour in the October 1974 General Election.

Over the next 13 years his campaigning for the town became so well-known that in political circles his constituency became known as Ipsweetch!

And John Gummer had few obvious links to Suffolk when was selected to fight the old seat of Eye in 1979. 

Since then he has become a highly-respected and well-known member of the local establishment - speaking personally it's always good to have a chat with him at the Suffolk Show!

But those who have come up through more local bases can also be successful in Parliament - James Cartlidge was a Babergh councillor before entering the House of Commons in 2015 and he is currently Minister of State for Defence.

Chris Mole made the transition from Suffolk County Council leader to become a Transport Minister in the early years of this century.

Of course there have been some incomers who have seemed to somehow get stuck in the corridors of Westminster and Whitehall. 

And I can think of local councillors who have appeared to get somewhat overwhelmed when they move to London - and who felt they had managed to achieve more before their move into national politics.

So overall there doesn't appear to be a great deal to choose between a local candidate and an incomer.

It all depends on the character of the individual - and the fact is how someone adjusts to life in Westminster often only becomes clear once they are elected to parliament.

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.