Former Norfolk MP who defected from the Conservatives to SDP dies

Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler on the campaign trail in 1983 Picture: Archant

Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler on the campaign trail in 1983 Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A former MP who famously crossed the floor of the house has died at the age of 86.

Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler was elected as a Conservative to represent King’s Lynn in 1970 and re-elected for the renamed North West Norfolk constituency at the 1974 election.

In 1981, he defected to the then Social Democratic Party - which became the Liberal Democrats - during the budget debate because he could not support Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies.

Rob Colwell, chair of West Norfolk Liberal Democrats, said: “The thoughts of all of us in West Norfolk Liberal Democrats are with the friends and family of Christopher during this difficult time.

“He devoted many years of loyal service to the people of North West Norfolk as their MP. His courage to stand up for moderate liberal values and leave an increasingly extremist Conservative Party to join the newly formed Social Democrat Party will be something for which we all remember him.”

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Two years later, he lost his seat to Sir Henry Bellingham. He stood again in 1987, but Sir Henry increased his majority. In 1992, he stood for South Norfolk but was again defeated.

In 1996, he again changed parties, this time joining Labour which he said had the vision to carry out the reforms the country needed.

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He worked for Labour in his old constituency, where Dr George Turner served a single term for the party after being elected amid Tony Blair’s New Labour landslide in 1997, before Sir Henry reclaimed the seat in 2001 and held it for 18 years.

Mr Brocklebank Fowler was educated at the Perse School, Cambridge, before taking a diploma in

agriculture at Oxford.

After serving his National Service on submarines in the early 1950s. He also worked on a farm in Kenya, trained as a manager with Unilever and worked as an advertising consultant.

In later life Mr Brocklebank-Fowler moved to Thurso, in Scotland, where he restored a fishery on the River Forss, in Caithness and improved salmon catches.

Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler was born on January 13, 1934 and died on May 29.

He is survived by two sons from the first of his three marriages, to Joan Nowland, in 1957.

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