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Norman Lamb’s survival instinct kicked in at election

PUBLISHED: 14:43 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 22 December 2017

Norman Lamb at the Forum to launch his Lib Dem leadership bid. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norman Lamb at the Forum to launch his Lib Dem leadership bid. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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MP Norman Lamb has spoken about how his survival instinct kicked in when he faced “a huge personal challenge” at the general election.

The North Norfolk MP was predicted to lose his seat after the government launched an onslaught with numerous ministerial visits to the patch.

But against all the odds Mr Lamb won. He puts the victory down to the “loyalty of the people of North Norfolk”.

“It was a very tough time in many respects,” he said. “I faced a massive personal challenge and my first instinct was survival against a very strong challenge.”

In the opening weeks of the campaign polls predicted that Mr Lamb, who has been the MP since 2001, would be beaten by Tory candidate James Wild. But in the end Mr Lamb retained the seat winning by an impressive 3,512 votes.

“It was extraordinary,” he said. “It was driven by the UEA analysis which gave me a 100pc chance of losing. That set the tone with a lot of people assuming I would lose.

“The stress and the feeling that I was in the eye of the storm was immense but also the great elation at proving the doubters wrong and prevailing was fantastic. And ultimately that was due to the loyalty of the people of North Norfolk which I appreciated enormously.

“It has been a difficult year but great joy as well. And then I have ended up becoming the chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee – a fascinating challenge which I am hugely enthusiastic about.

“In terms of Norfolk in 2018 the first duty is the representation of people in my constituency. That is what I will always prioritise. Beyond that the enormous challenge the health and social care system faces will continue to be a huge focus.”

Mr Lamb added that he was looking forward to a time when the country was not so divided and put the current climate down to ongoing rows about Brexit and what the UK will look like after the withdrawal from Europe.

He added: “The year has been tough – this is a very divided country and politics is in a very aggressive phase. Strongly held opinions are often expressed with aggression. That makes it a very unattractive environment. A lot of people on both sides of the Brexit debate look forward to a time when we can unite the country again.”

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