George Freeman increases his majority in Mid Norfolk
- Credit: Ian Burt
Conservative George Freeman held his Mid Norfolk seat by a huge majority of 17, 276.
Mr Freeman was a strong favourite to retain the seat he won with a 13,856 majority in 2010.
But the size of his victory this year will have surprised many.
He secured 27,206 votes, more than half of those cast.
Speaking at the Mid Norfolk count, at Dereham Leisure Centre, moments after the result was declared, Mr Freeman said: 'I am overwhelmed and hugely honoured by the scale of the vote tonight which I think is an endorsement of both our local campaign and my commitment to always put the constituency first and mid Norfolk's confidence in the Conservative government's long term plan to put this area and our country on the road to real prosperity.
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'I am particularly thrilled at that result in the face of the challenge from four other candidates and particularly the predictions of UKIP's breakthrough which did not transpire.
'The people of mid Norfolk have overwhelmingly voted for decent, compassionate Conservatism.
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'After a weekend of sleep the hard work begins on Monday to continue to secure investment in modern communications and local jobs and fight for the more local model of development that I have set out through the Norfolk Way.'
Some felt UKIP may have posed a threat to Mr Freeman's majority.
UKIP's Anna Coke received the second highest number of votes – 9,930, just ahead of Labour's Harry Clarke, who was third with 9,585.
Liberal Democrat Paul Speed was fourth with 3,300 votes, with the Green Party's Simeon Jackson fifth with 2,191.
Mr Freeman had spoken during his campaign on his efforts to secure high speed broadband to Mid Norfolk and told voters he had 'led the charge' on upgrading infrastructure, helping to secure the dualling of the A11 and bringing David Cameron to Dereham to announce the £300m dualling of the A47.
Turnout for voters in Mid Norfolk was 68pc, 0.4pc down on 2010.
A total 52,451 votes were cast.