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Lord Balfe addresses business leaders in Suffolk

Members of the Ipswich and Suffolk Business Club welcomed The Lord Balfe of Dulwich for their latest event at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall.

Lord Richard Balfe served in the European Parliament from 1979 to 2004. He began as a Labour member before joining the Conservatives. He was David Cameron’s envoy to the trade union movement from 2007 to 2013 and joined the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer in 2013. He is currently the honorary President of BALPA, the pilot’s union and is the only parliamentarian to hold the presidency of a TUC affiliated union.

Lord Balfe said “I shall be telling the members that the government has turned the corner, that we are now a competent and reliable government which aims to be ‘boring’ but aims to deliver for business. We’re not running a circus, so we don’t need clowns! We’re running a business, so we need level-headed, well-educated, calm people who know what they are doing. That is what we have with Rishi Sunak. I have backed Rishi from the beginning; I was there at his first public launch in July 2022. Stability is always good for business. The next word that comes to mind after stability is predictability and we need to get the country into a position where it is growing again, not excessive taxation. Well spent public money is an investment but badly spent public money is a waste. There will always be challenges, that is what government is about but it’s about anticipating the challenges and dealing with them and making sure people get the best result both nationally and internationally.”

Lord Balfe backed calls for the UK to remain in the EU and says he is still very much a ‘Remainer’ but also a realist, “We have to get as close to Europe as we can. We can’t re-join the EU. One of things about living in a democracy is you have to listen to the people. The people have given us our instructions and we now have to make the best of them. In terms of Europe, the closer the relationship the better.”

At nearly eighty, Lord Balfe has had a long career in government including almost sixty years working with the trade union movement. Reflecting on this he said, “One of the greatest achievements is David Cameron signing me up to liaise with the trade union movement. The trade unions are never going to be going out and voting conservative but what we can do, and what we have done, is have a constructive relationship. One of the most impressive things for me was how within days of Rishi Sunak becoming Prime Minister, his office was on the phone to me asking me whether they could revive the job that I did for David which lapsed under the last three (Prime Ministers). I have since met with the Prime Minister and we had a discussion about what I can do, which is now very much in the background. I know all of the people and I know the difference between rhetoric and reality.”

Toby Kramers, Chair of Ipswich Suffolk Business Club (ISBC), said: “We were incredibly fortunate to hear from Lord Balfe. He has a vast experience in government and was able to share his insights with our members. ISBC has many exciting events planned for this year and we encourage any business owners and leaders interested in membership to get in touch and join our community.”

The event was sponsored by award-winning PR and digital agency PLMR Genesis, Milsoms and Adnams.

Members of Ipswich Suffolk Business Club are local business owners, leaders and decision-makers who share the Club’s vision in promoting business growth and accelerating Suffolk’s business reputation in the UK.

The Club attracts high-quality speakers, giving members the opportunity to hear from and question exceptional business entrepreneurs and political influencers. For more information, please see

To become a member and gain access to these exclusive member events, contact Liz Harsant by emailing

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Toby Kramers

Committee Chair

Toby was brought up in Suffolk and, after a brief spell at University and working in London, returned to Ipswich to work in a legal practice in Ipswich in the 1990s where he has worked ever since as a solicitor specialising in Commercial Property.

Outside of work, Toby enjoys politics (he was Chairman of and remains involved in the South Suffolk Conservative Association), singing (he has performed with the Essex University Choir) and country sports. He is involved in a number of local charities.