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Election 2017: Broadland MP Keith Simpson says it's 'too early' to say whether Theresa May will stay as prime minister

PUBLISHED: 07:09 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:27 09 June 2017

Conservative Keith Simpson held his Broadland seat. Photo: Luke Powell

Conservative Keith Simpson held his Broadland seat. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

Broadland's newly re-elected MP, Keith Simpson, said Theresa May had been "damaged" by the general election results.

But the 68-year-old said it was too early to say whether she will remain as prime minister.

Mr Simpson ruled himself out of taking on the role, adding that the idea of another leadership contest made his “heart sink”.

The Conservative MP made the comments shortly after securing more than 32,000 votes to retain his Broadland constituency seat this morning.

Despite his win, he described the election as a “most peculiar night” as other Tory MPs lost their seats.

MORE: Norfolk General Election Results 2017

“She [Theresa May] has obviously been damaged by this,” Mr Simpson said. “But my heart sinks at having to go through another leadership contest.”

He said he believed that Mrs May had not “particularly” wanted to go ahead with the general election.

But Mr Simpson said: “She looked at the polls and looked at Jeremy Corbyn and I think she was very much governed by the fact that the end of the Brexit negotiations were going to be right up against the 2020 general election and she decided ‘I don’t want to do that, I want to be given a really firm mandate’ and it didn’t work out like that.”

When asked whether he thought Mrs May will stay as prime minister, he said: “I think it is too early to say.”

MORE: General Election 2017; What happened in Norfolk and Waveney?

The Broadland count took place alongside the Norwich North count at The Space in Sprowston.

And there was almost upset earlier in the evening as Conservative candidate Chloe Smith narrowly won the Norwich seat by 507 votes.

Mr Simpson said there was “probably” some concern that the seat could be taken by Labour.

“You look at the history of Norwich’s seats, and they have rarely been Conservative,” he said.

MORE: Election 2017: Chloe Smith holds Norwich North - but only by a narrow margin

“Labour threw a lot into Norwich North, and of course Chloe had been away for nine months on maternity leave.”

Meanwhile, Broadland’s Labour candidate Iain Simpson, who secured 16,590 votes, said Mrs May’s plans had gone “catastrophically wrong”.

He said: “She called this election for party political reasons and it turns out her judgement is catastrophically wrong.

“In Keith’s speech he did not say she should stay as party leader.”

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