Unveiled: The third man in the battle for North Norfolk
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
The battle for power in North Norfolk is a fascinating one.
Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb has held the seat since 2001 but the Conservatives are growing in confidence. Earlier this week Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said this seat had been highlighted as key – if it falls to James Wild it means the Tories have won a 'proper majority' he said.
But there is a third man and he believes the coming weeks will turn this tussle into a three-way scrap.
In a seat where only the main three parties are standing, Stephen Burke thinks Labour could pick up the bulk of the Green vote and even gain support from Ukippers.
'Our membership has trebled in size, we have picked up former Green Party members and I think people will be surprised by the number of constituents who voted UKIP last time and will now come back to Labour,' the 57-year-old charity executive said.
You may also want to watch:
'There were plenty of Labour leavers who only voted Ukip because they were opposed to the EU. Now we know that leaving Europe is going to happen I think that vote will return.'
But Mr Burke – a former campaign officer for Labour in Hammersmith who now both lives and works in North Norfolk – thinks local issues will be crucial: 'We have 47 miles of coastline, so defences are important. Roads and public transport are a huge problem as well as broadband and mobile connectivity.
- 1 Person pulled from car as rain lashes region
- 2 Teenager who lost driving licence receives surprise in post
- 3 Seven fire engines called to blaze on housing estate
- 4 ‘It went up like a matchstick’ - Neighbour’s horror at blaze
- 5 Road closed due to accident after car reportedly flips on to its roof
- 6 Fire crews still at scene as investigation launched into house blaze
- 7 Pedestrian suffers life-threatening injuries in A47 crash
- 8 Five cars and a horsebox involved in crash near RAF base
- 9 Family devastated after death of much-loved and well-known horse
- 10 7 of the prettiest streets in Norfolk
'We need to get things like broadband right across the whole area. At present the connection is too patchy. If we want our talented young people to stay here and set up businesses they need to the have the very best internet available.'
In 2015 the Labour vote in North Norfolk almost doubled even though the party finished fourth. It is this result – and what Mr Burke calls the 'Corbyn effect' of increased party membership – that has the Labour candidate dreaming of closing the gap even further.
'We have a yellow Tory in Norman Lamb,' he said. 'And we have a blue Tory in James Wild. I am the only non-Tory standing basically.'