A Norfolk MP has responded to criticism from voters that he had gone "missing" from his constituency duties, insisting he was 'doing his best to make himself available'.

Richard Bacon has seen posters placed around his South Norfolk constituency, accusing him of adopting a low local profile and declaring him "missing". The posters asked: "Has anybody seen Richard lately?"

He also faced criticism from voters after sending a generic email to 82 of them which copied in their personal email addresses.

However, on Monday, Mr Bacon met with villagers from Bressingham and the surrounding communities to talk about their fears over a controversial bioenergy development currently going through the planning process.

While there, he responded to allegations that he had been overlooking his constituency duties, and blamed the pandemic for restricting his public appearances.

Mr Bacon said: "I'm here, I'm here right now.

"I have to point out we have gone through a pandemic, it has not been easy to be around, it has not been easy to do constituency surgeries and most places I would normally visit, like schools, have either been closed or under huge restrictions.

"The worst thing for many MPs is not being able to be out and about as much as they have always liked to be among their residents, talking to them.

"I'm very glad for that reason we are seeing a lifting of the Covid restrictions."

Asked why other MPs have not attracted the same level of criticism that he has faced, Mr Bacon said: "I don't know. I'm doing my best to make sure I am available to people."

Mr Bacon said he continues to hold surgeries but they have been online and added that he was looking forward to getting out and about as much as possible now.

Ahead of the publication of the Sue Gray report into the Downing Street 'partygate' scandal - a series of parties, drinks events and birthday celebrations that may have breached Covid lockdown rules - Mr Bacon reiterated his support for the embattled prime minister.

He said: "I personally think that eating a piece of cake at the office is not an offence.

"I'm slightly surprised that it had dominated the headlines in the way that it has.

"Number 10 is an office, Boris Johnson is the prime minister, he's not the office manager. He has civil servants who manage the office and make sure that the electricity bill is paid, to make the social distancing occurs."

He added it was absurd "to tear down the prime minister, the leader of a G7 country, because some 20-something staffers got rather over-excited after working 16 to 18 hours a day for weeks on end to support the PM in one of the biggest crises we have faced in peacetime."