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Election 2017: Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb and Conservative James Wild exchange insults as knife-edge battle for North Norfolk enters final hours

PUBLISHED: 14:06 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 June 2017

Conservative candidate James Wild and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Conservative candidate James Wild and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb. Picture: Ally McGilvray

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The Liberal Democrat candidate in North Norfolk has hit out at his Conservative rival as the race in the marginal seat gets increasingly personal.

Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, and James Wild speaking to staff during their tour of Structure-Flex in Cromer. Several high-profile Tories have helped campaign for Mr Wild 
Picture: Ally McGilvrayLiam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, and James Wild speaking to staff during their tour of Structure-Flex in Cromer. Several high-profile Tories have helped campaign for Mr Wild Picture: Ally McGilvray

Norman Lamb called his Tory counterpart James Wild a “novice” who would toe the party line and not stick up for the people of North Norfolk.

But Mr Wild hit back claiming North Norfolk has been badly represented for the 16 years Mr Lamb has held the seat.

The race to win the constituency is set to be very close. It has been identified by Conservative campaign headquarters as a winnable target and several ministers have made the journey from London to help with campaigning.

But Mr Lamb believes the Tory candidate – who has worked as a special advisor to ministers but has never stood in a general election before – is a Number 10 stooge.

Former boxing champino Frank Bruno joined Norman Lamb electioneering around North Walsham market. 
Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer boxing champino Frank Bruno joined Norman Lamb electioneering around North Walsham market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“James Wild will just do what he is told – he will not be willing to challenge the prime minister. He says he is Theresa May’s man – I don’t think that is something to be boasting about,” he said.

“I have vast experience from my time as a minister and from my years in Westminster. I am respected in parliament and I know how to apply pressure. The last thing North Norfolk needs at this moment is someone who will simply do what he is told by Number 10.

“This constituency needs an independent voice – not a novice who will just toe the party line.”

But Mr Wild has disputed the claims and highlighted his time spent working in Westminster: “I have spent the last four-and-half years advising ministers daily. I understand how Westminster works.

“And my very first priority should I be elected will be the people of North Norfolk. If I was to be elected and Theresa May was returned as prime minister I would be able to speak up for North Norfolk at the highest levels. Norman Lamb can’t do that.

“This area has been left behind for 16 years. Now we have a chance to change for the better.”

The Labour candidate in North Norfolk is Stephen Burke.

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