Jeremy Corbyn says Labour to push hard for Chloe Smith’s Norwich North Seat

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party. Picture: Ian Burt

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has declared his party will target Norwich North hard at the next election.

Norwich North Conservative MP Chloe Smith. Pic: Eliza Boo Photography

Norwich North Conservative MP Chloe Smith. Pic: Eliza Boo Photography - Credit: Eliza Boo Photography

Speaking at the party's eastern region conference Mr Corbyn said the city seat would be top of the list in East Anglia after Labour came close to a shock upset in June's general election.

Chloe Smith clung on with just 507 votes between her and Labour candidate Christopher Jones. Just two years earlier Ms Smith had enjoyed a healthy 4,463-vote margin.

Mr Corbyn said: 'The places that we are going to prioritise for winning are Rochford and Southend East, Norwich North and Colchester, which have not traditionally been Labour seats and it shows just how far our party is advancing.'

But Ms Smith pointed out she has seen off several Labour challenges since winning the seat in 2009.

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'I'm delighted the people of Norwich North have voted Conservative for the last three general elections and chosen me to serve them over a succession of Labour candidates,' she said. 'It's an honour to represent Norwich North and I'm proud to have got major results for the constituency, like more young people in work and millions of pounds of transport investment that will bring more jobs in the future. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is extreme, unqualified and can't be trusted to run the economy.'

And one Tory source, who worked on the national general election campaign, said the Conservatives would not make the same mistakes in future as they did earlier this year.

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He said: 'Chloe's seat was overlooked throughout because we were so obsessed with getting James Wild the North Norfolk seat. Yes it is true that the prime minister came to Norwich twice during the campaign but I think that was more about taking votes from Clive Lewis than consolidating Chloe's seat.

'In the face of a dreadful campaign and the bounce for Labour it is quite an achievement for Chloe to have kept that seat to be honest. But Labour won't run another campaign like that again and we won't either – Corbyn's chance to win Norwich North has been and gone.

'Normal service will be resumed. Politics has gone through a huge upheaval but the dust will settle. And Labour won't be making loads of gains in the east.'

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