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New MP says he will not quit as councillor

PUBLISHED: 14:31 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:26 17 December 2019

Conservative Duncan Baker celebrates becoming the new MP for North Norfolk with a majority of more than 14,000 votes. Picture: Denise Bradley

Conservative Duncan Baker celebrates becoming the new MP for North Norfolk with a majority of more than 14,000 votes. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

The newly elected MP Duncan Baker has pledged to stay on as a district councillor after his General Election win.

Conservative Duncan Baker speaks after becoming the new MP for North Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYConservative Duncan Baker speaks after becoming the new MP for North Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Baker triumphed on election night as control of north Norfolk was wrestled from the hands of the Liberal Democrats after long-standing MP Sir Norman Lamb decided to step down.

Now, he has said that he will not be stepping down from his position as a councillor at North Norfolk District Council - but he will resign his role as Conservative group opposition leader.

Mr Baker will receive a £5,254 members' allowance, along with his £79,468 MP salary.

On December 12, Mr Baker secured a majority of more than 14,000 votes, despite the election exit poll forecasting a 90pc likelihood that the Lib Dems would retain the seat.

Duncan Baker of the Conservatives is the new MP for North Norfolk. Picture: ArchantDuncan Baker of the Conservatives is the new MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Archant

MPs are not legally required to resign from any council position if they are elected to Parliament, but it is unusual for them not to.

A spokesperson for North Norfolk Conservatives said: "Following Duncan Baker's election as the new MP for North Norfolk last week, he has confirmed that he will step down as opposition leader at North Norfolk District Council, but will continue as a district councillor.

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"There are several instances of MPs sitting both as MPs and councillors. These include the former Colchester MP Bob Russell, who held such a dual mandate from 1997 to 2002, and Mike Hancock who was MP for Portsmouth South for 18 years and remained a councillor on Portsmouth City Council for 17 of those."

He added that Mr Baker would "ensure a smooth transition with the other members of his group, but continue as the district councillor for Holt, having been elected in May of this year".

Mr Baker said: "It has been made clear by many voters during the campaign and already through some of the casework sent to me as a Member of Parliament, that voters in North Norfolk have a lot of issues for which North Norfolk District Council is responsible.

"By remaining a backbench district councillor I hope to ensure that, where issues relate to the council, I am in the best possible position to get results for North Norfolk residents."

The North Norfolk Conservatives spokesperson said there was a large crossover of workload between the role of an MP and a councillor.

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of NNDC said: "I think Norman proved if you are going to be a good member of parliament for the constituency, as well as a member of this council, it is going to be a lot of hard work.

"I can't understand how he will be able to come to council meetings after being in Westminster all day.

"With the amount of promises and pledges he has made, people have put trust in him, he needs to focus on that. Karen Ward would have resigned if she became an MP."

Conservative members in North Norfolk District Council will now vote for a new leader.

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