Business owner chosen to fight for Norman Lamb MP's seat
PUBLISHED: 07:55 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:26 11 September 2019
A councillor and business owner has been chosen unanimously to fight for MP Sir Norman Lamb's North Norfolk seat at the next election.
Karen Ward, a North Norfolk District councillor and former civil servant, has been announced as the Liberal Democrat's prospective parliamentary candidate for the seat after Sir Norman's decision to step down.
Ms Ward, a mother-of-two from Sheringham, said she was "honoured" to stand for the seat and would continue her predecessor's work on improving mental health and ambulance response times.
She was unanimously chosen by local party members at a meeting in Sheringham on Tuesday night.
Ms Ward added: "I will also fight for decent affordable housing for local people, better education and training for our children, and a new deal for social care funding for the elderly."
The key areas she hopes to address are climate change, social housing, people-led town development and sustainable rural communities.
She said the government was "in crisis" and warned of the effects of a no-deal Brexit on Norfolk businesses, farmers and fishermen.
Ms Ward added: "Working as a councillor and running my own business, I have seen the massive risks of a no-deal Brexit. We desperately need fresh leadership to end the chaos over Brexit."
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Sir Norman praised his successor and said she has a "fantastic record of standing up for north Norfolk".
He said: "I am delighted that Karen Ward is standing to succeed me. It has never been more important that North Norfolk has a strong local voice."
He added he would do "everything I can" to get Ms Ward elected in the next general election.
Ms Ward was selected from an all-women's shortlist (AWS) which the Lib Dems use when a 'held' seat becomes available.
It was announced in August that Sir Norman, 61, would step down as he felt he would be more effective outside parliament than in it.
Over his 18-year political career, he has served in parliamentary roles including health minister under the coalition government and shadow health secretary - where he championed the manifesto policy of putting 1p on income tax to fund the NHS and social care.
Sir Norman became an MP on his third attempt in 2001 after a hard-fought 11 years, and won five general elections in his career - although his majority dropped to 3,512 in 2017 to a high of 11,626 from the 2010 election.