Two Norfolk MPs have been accused of going "missing in action" by councillors, during a discussion about their authority's finances.

Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, came under fire at a meeting of Breckland District Council where its new budget was agreed. 

Councillors said they were being "let down" by the pair, both prominent Conservative MPs, who had not done enough to ensure the region received better support from the national government.

Terry Jermy, vice-chairman of the council - who shortly after the meeting was named as the Labour candidate to take on Ms Truss at the next election - criticised Mr Freeman for his recent comments about his mortgage and his outside earnings and Ms Truss for her controversial speaking engagements in the US.

He said: "One of our MPs is more interested in his own bank balance and his salary not being sufficient, and the other is trotting the national stage, speaking to anyone who will listen.

"We're all here, fighting for the most vulnerable in our district, and our MPs are completely missing in action."

Eastern Daily Press: Terry Jermy represents Thetford at a district and county levelTerry Jermy represents Thetford at a district and county level (Image: Submitted)

Mr Freeman faced a backlash last month after he complained that he was unable to afford his rising mortgage payments on his ministerial salary of almost £120,000, and that it was one of the reasons he had left the front bench.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss has been accused of "propagating conspiracy theories" following her appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac), in Maryland, where she claimed her efforts to slash taxes were "sabotaged" by the "administrative state and the deep state".

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Mr Jermy added: "Where are our MPs? Where are our representatives on the national stage, lobbying for our residents?"

Roger Atterwill, leader of Independent and Green group, said: "Our MPs are absent from the battlefield. Local government has taken a pounding over the last decade - it's a mess, we get piecemeal funding."

The council had met to discuss its 2024/25 budget, which will see the annual tax for band D properties increase by £4.95, equating to £114 per year.

Mr Jermy added: "Whilst this is a balanced budget, it's not sustainable at all in the current trajectory of funding and demand increases.

"We could be doing so much more if we had the proper funding formula, doing more to support vulnerable residents, more to address other priorities.

"But we are completely hindered by the national government's approach to local government and our MPs letting us down."

Mr Freeman said he had not been approached by councillors about these concerns.

He added: "It's hardly surprising that Cllr Jermy, the Labour parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk, is using the council chamber to grandstand to raise his profile. 

"But I am surprised that he chooses to comment on my work in Mid Norfolk without once contacting me - or mentioning the work I'm doing with Breckland Council on the A47, flood relief, rural homelessness and temporary accommodation, grant support for disabled facilities and town centre investment plans for Dereham, Watton and Attleborough."

Mr Jermy, who lives in Thetford, will be looking to turn the South West Norfolk seat red at the next election.

If he is successful, he would be the constituency's first Labour MP since the 1960s. 

Eastern Daily Press: South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss (Image: Denise Bradley)Ms Truss was reselected to fight the seat a year ago, following her brief stint as prime minister which saw her resign after just 44 days in office - the shortest premiership in British history.

The seat will also be contested by James Bagge, one of the rebel Tories who, in 2009, called for Ms Truss to be deselected as the Conservative candidate for the seat. 

Mr Bagge will stand as an independent candidate against Ms Truss, who has increased her majority in South West Norfolk each year since she was first elected in 2010.