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Pro-EU pressure group to support Norman Lamb at general election

PUBLISHED: 16:58 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 April 2017

Norman Lamb. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Norman Lamb. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Press Association

A pro-EU pressure group plans to support Liberal Democrat North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb at the general election.

Stephen Burke has criticised Open Britain's support for Mr Lamb. Pic: Labour Party. Stephen Burke has criticised Open Britain's support for Mr Lamb. Pic: Labour Party.

Open Britain has drawn up a list of 20 MPs who campaigned against Brexit during the EU referendum, and it plans to provide activists to help them defend their seats on June 8.

The successor organisation to Britain’s pro-EU remain campaign has teamed up with two other grassroots pro-EU organisations, European Movement and Britain for Europe, providing access to 600,000 supporters for what it has dubbed its “20/20 key seat strategy”.

Mr Lamb, whose constituents voted 58pc to leave in the referendum, said: “I’m grateful for their support. I have been active in Open Britain and have been a co-chairman of it. Open Britain is very clear that it’s now all about the deal we negotiate.

“And I have been clear throughout that we have to accept the outcome of the referendum. I broke the party whip in refusing to vote against triggering Article 50.”

Voters are also being urged to unseat prominent Brexit-supporting MPs such as Iain Duncan Smith.

Open Britain has drawn up an “attack list” of 20 seats, held mostly by Conservative MPs, where constituents voted to stay in the EU but their representatives are Brexit supporters.

The pro-EU groups said they had produced a list of constituencies to campaign in because of pressure from thousands of activists.

They believe the disconnect between the politicians and their voters over Europe provides the chance to eat into or even overturn large majorities.

The chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, Stephen Burke, has, however, attacked Open Britain’s support of Mr Lamb. He said only Labour in North Norfolk was strongly opposed to Brexit and would fight to get the best deal for Britain.

He said: “Clearly Open Britain has got the wrong Norman Lamb. The Norman Lamb standing for the Lib Dems in North Norfolk was barely visible during the referendum campaign. Even worse since then Norman Lamb abstained on the key Article 50 vote in the House of Commons.

“As usual Norman Lamb sat on the fence trying to appease Brexiteers in North Norfolk who he hoped might vote for him.”

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