Conservatives from across the county flood into north Norfolk in bid to help James Wild unseat Norman Lamb
- Credit: POA(Phot) Owen Cooban - Royal Na
A group of Norfolk Conservatives have flooded into north Norfolk, leaving behind their own constituency in a bid to help their parliamentary candidate James Wild unseat Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb.
The group, led by the Tories' candidate for mid-Norfolk George Freeman, visited Holt on Saturday May 13 in support of the hopeful who has gone head to head with Mr Lamb.
Mr Freeman was joined by colleagues including Dereham mayor and county councillor Phillip Duigan, county councillor Bill Borrett, Breckland councillor Linda Monument and former long serving councillor John Labouchere.
Mr Wild, who has worked as a special adviser to Sir Michael Fallon in three government departments for the past four years, welcomed the support.
'The rest of the Conservative MPs in Norfolk have worked on projects together and previously north Norfolk has been left out of that,' he said. 'Having a Conservative MP in north Norfolk would help to change that.
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'This is a key target for us to win this seat. It's been a while since we've had it here so it's time to take it back.
'It's going to be competitive.'
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Mr Freeman added: 'I believe James Wild will be an excellent MP for north Norfolk. As North Walsham boy with a strong defence background and a feel for small business, he would be a strong and effective representative on Theresa May's team to deliver the investment north Norfolk needs.
'After 10 days knocking on doors in mid Norfolk, it was a pleasure as a friend and fellow Norfolkman to join him and a group of his supporters - including my mum who lives nearby - in Holt.'
The push continues on Monday as a group of South West Norfolk Conservatives leave Swaffham at 10am with Tory candidate for South West Norfolk, Elizabeth Truss.
Mr Lamb has appealed to voters to help him raise £20,000 for a fighting fund to keep the Conservative Party out.
He has announced a series of Action Days across North Norfolk in a bid to rally support.
Mr Lamb said: 'I fully understand that the Conservatives are gunning for me, I understand they are spending a fortune nationally to try to get rid of me, but locally I have Tories saying to me: 'We will vote for you because we don't want to lose you as our local MP'.
'From my perspective, I'm fighting a very personal campaign in a way. I'm told by people across the political spectrum that they like the way I do this job, the way I put body and soul into it, and many people want to keep that.
'The Conservatives want it to all be about one issue but actually that's a given. Theresa May will have a massive mandate to negotiate the Brexit deal, and that's why she called the election, because she was certain she would get that. And the result in North Norfolk will have no bearing on what is happening nationally.'
But he added: 'People are starting to think: 'Do we want no check on power, no alternative voice in parliament? I don't think anybody actually wants a one party state, we need an effective opposition and I also think we need an effective MP for North Norfolk.'
Although they have been offered support from the Greens, who aren't contesting the seat, with UKIP urging their supporters to back the Tories, the Liberal Democrats may need to rely on Labour voters to keep the Conservative Party out.
However, Labour candidate Stephen Burke, chairman of the North Norfolk Labour Party, claims 'a vote for the LibDems is in effect a vote for damaging Tory policies'.
He said: 'There will be no deals. Labour offers a very clear alternative to the Tories and LibDems – the blue Tories and the yellow Tories.
'On Brexit, the biggest issue of our times, he sat on the fence and abstained on the recent Article 50 vote in Parliament despite his party's apparent support for Europe. On tuition fees, he pledged to scrap fees and then he voted to treble them. On the NHS, he voted for all the Tories' spending cuts and the Act that broke up the NHS. As health minister from 2012-15, he had the opportunity to reform the care system but instead his pet project, the so-called Better Care Fund, has wasted billions of pounds according to the National Audit Office.
'Norman Lamb doesn't even live in North Norfolk, despite having been its MP since 2001. He says one thing and then does another. A vote for the LibDems is in effect a vote for damaging Tory policies, as Norman Lamb has demonstrated time and again. He has supported fox hunting, badger culling, fracking, and even the sell-off our forests. Only Labour can oppose the Tories, nationally and locally, and is the real home for disillusioned Green voters.'