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Safety concerns as Brexit anger spills on to doorsteps in Norfolk local elections campaign

PUBLISHED: 08:50 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 April 2019

Norfolk will go to the polls on May 2. Pic: PA/Rui Vieira.

Norfolk will go to the polls on May 2. Pic: PA/Rui Vieira.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Anger over the national handling of Brexit means political activists campaigning in the local elections are being urged to canvass in pairs for safety - and not to get into arguments on the doorstep.

Labour's Colleen Walker.
 PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYLabour's Colleen Walker. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norfolk will go the polls on Thursday, May 2, with hundreds of seats up for grabs in elections across the county,

There will be elections at Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Breckland District Council, South Norfolk Council, North Norfolk Council and West Norfolk Council.

But those who have been pounding the streets to drum up votes say there is real frustration about the way Brexit is being dealt with by politicians at Westminster.

Labour county councillor Colleen Walker, who has been campaigning in Great Yarmouth, where she hopes to win a borough council seat in Magdalen, said there was a lot of anger on the doorstep.

Liberal Democrat Dan Roper. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Liberal Democrat Dan Roper. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Almost 72pc voted to leave in the 2016 referendum and Mrs Walker said: “This is definitely proving to be one of the most difficult years for campaigning. There have been some people who have been very aggressive.

“We have got some young members of the party and we’ve been saying to them not to go canvassing or delivering on their own and, if somebody throws a wobbly when they put a leaflet through the door, just to walk away and not engage.”

John Fuller, Conservative leader of South Norfolk Council, who is seeking re-election in Brooke, said: “Brexit is a national issue and, while it’s on everyone’s lips, we are explaining, one voter at a time, that this is about local elections, on local issues, involving local people.

“There is frustration about Brexit there, but people are rarely rude on the doorstep. Norfolk is a polite county.”

South Norfolk Council Conservative leader John Fuller. Pic: Rose Sapey.South Norfolk Council Conservative leader John Fuller. Pic: Rose Sapey.

And Dan Roper, who leads the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council and is seeking re-election in the Broadland District Council ward of Spixworth with St Faiths, said, while there was a huge amount of frustration about Brexit, the focus was on local issues.

He said: “Because of the way we campaign, we’ve been focusing on local issues and people are used to getting Liberal Democrat leaflets through their door, talking about the local issues. So we’re not picking up a huge amount about Brexit.”

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