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Boris in Broadland? Council boss would welcome eyes of the nation

PUBLISHED: 11:49 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:18 03 November 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured in Suffolk Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured in Suffolk Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The possibility of Boris Johnson standing for election in Broadland would create a priceless opportunity to showcase the county and promote its needs.

Trevor Holden, joint managing director of Broadland and South Norfolk Councils. Picture: Ian BurtTrevor Holden, joint managing director of Broadland and South Norfolk Councils. Picture: Ian Burt

This is the view of the man who will be responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly on the day of the election.

Trevor Holden, managing director of both Broadland and South Norfolk Councils will serve as returning officer for the Broadland constituency on December 12, meaning he will be tasked with overseeing the count and confirming the result for the area.

And with the possibility - albeit a very slim one - of the prime minister being one of the candidates, this is a workload which Mr Holden knows could suddenly get far heavier.

He said: "Naturally, if a high profile candidate like Boris Johnson were to be involved everything would be busier.

"We'd expect a higher turnout so I'd have to look very carefully at staffing numbers, security levels, everything.

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"However, it would also be quite extraordinary for the area.

"Just imagine - the eyes of the nation would be on Broadland.

"What an opportunity that would be to showcase everything we have to offer - from the Broads to everything surrounding. And more importantly, a chance to highlight things that need the government's attention."

In the incredibly unlikely event that Mr Johnson's head is turned by Keith Simpson's vacancy - and 15,816 majority - it would not be the first time Mr Holden has overseen a high profile candidate in an unlikely constituency.

In the 2005 general election, he was in the same role in Erewash in Derbyshire, where Robert Kilroy-Silk stood for election.

Mr Holden said: "It was quite bizarre really. All of a sudden we also had the Monster Raving Loony Party showing up and there was almost as much of a celebrity interest than political - and all in this small constituency in Derbyshire.

"Even suggestions of it are creating a greater interest in the election, so I would welcome it."

Downing Street has previously said talk of Mr Johnson standing in Broadland was "tosh and nonsense", however, a separate Conservative party source said "anything could happen - it would not be a massive shock."

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