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Former Lib Dem candidate urges Norwich North voters to back Labour

PUBLISHED: 09:53 01 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:24 01 December 2019

Hugh Lanham has called on Norwich North to vote tactically in the general election  Picture: Ian Burt

Hugh Lanham has called on Norwich North to vote tactically in the general election Picture: Ian Burt

The last candidate to stand for the Liberal Democrats in Norfolk's most marginal seat has said he regrets standing and has urged voters to back the Labour Party this time around.

Hugh Lanham and Chloe Smith during a 2017 general election hustings Pic: Nick ButcherHugh Lanham and Chloe Smith during a 2017 general election hustings Pic: Nick Butcher

Hugh Lanham was the Lib Dems' pick in Norwich North for the 2017 general election, which saw Conservative Chloe Smith's majority slashed from 4,463 to just 507 votes.

Now, heading into this month's election, Mr Lanham has said he is "still feeling guilty" about the narrow margin and has called on Lib Dem voters in the constituency to vote tactically this time to oust Ms Smith.

He wrote on Twitter: "Voters of Norwich North. In 2017 I was your Lib Dem candidate.

"Still feel guilty for dividing the opposition vote and letting Chloe scrape in. This time I suggest strongly that you must vote Labour.

Dave Thomas, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Dave Thomas, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

"This is a great chance. Lib Dem or Green vote helps Tories win."

In 2017, the Lib Dems collected 1,480 votes, with 21,900 constituents voting Conservative and 21,393 voting Labour.

It comes after the most up-to-date YouGov poll predicted Ms Smith would hold on to her seat with 47.2pc of the vote share.

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Dave Thomas, who this year won a seat for the Lib Dems on Broadland District Council, is standing in the constituency for the party,

He said: "It has been a strange election with lots of people campaigning for parties you wouldn't expect them too.

"However, I have found from a lot of people on the doorsteps that they are tired of two party politics - and I'm fed up of it too.

"I wouldn't even consider stepping aside."

Election candidates for Norwich North from left to right: David Moreland (UKIP), Karen Davis (Labour), Chloe Smith (Conservative), Dave Thomas (Liberal Democrat), Adrian Holmes (Green).Election candidates for Norwich North from left to right: David Moreland (UKIP), Karen Davis (Labour), Chloe Smith (Conservative), Dave Thomas (Liberal Democrat), Adrian Holmes (Green).

Replying to Mr Lanham's Tweet, Karen Davis, Labour candidate for Norwich North said: "Thank you Hugh, this can't be an easy thing to say. I really appreciate your honesty and integrity here."

Ms Smith has held the seat for the Conservatives since 2009, when she won a by-election after previous Labour MP Ian Gibson stood down following the expenses scandal.

She said: "This election is really simple - only a vote for the Conservatives will get Brexit done and allow the country to move on to other priorities.

"This shows a vote for any other party will put Jeremy Corbyn in charge."

The candidates for Norwich North are: Chloe Smith (Con), Adrian Holmes (Green), Karen Davis (Lab), Dave Thomas (Lib Dem), David Moreland (UKIP).

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