MPs promise Norfolk won't be ignored ... now they need to prove it
PUBLISHED: 12:18 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:18 17 January 2020
Norfolk's Conservative MPs have pledged to "hunt as a pack" to ensure the region is not left behind.
The region's Tory members of parliament - who have dubbed themselves 'The Norfolk Eight' - want to promote spending in the East in the wake of Boris Johnson's general election victory.
The pledge comes as new focus is given to the North of England where the Conservatives picked up a swathe of traditional Labour seats.
The new grouping want to "ensure the county has a prominent place at the table in any future government spending rounds" and champion "all that is great in Norfolk".
Their first official meeting - held in parliament this week - focussed on improving the A47, the 'Norwich in Ninety' rail initiative, broadband and mobile phone connectivity, hospital upgrades and support for mental health among other issues.
Trade secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said: "We have hunted as a pack in the past, and to great effectiveness, and we will do it again. We have the ambition and drive to ensure Norfolk has a prominent voice in Westminster, so it is great that we have the new Conservative MPs James Wild, Jerome Mayhew and Duncan Baker all championing the cause too.
"Trains, buses, excellent mobile phone signals and broadband availability are all priorities, along with health and education, supporting business to grow."
Security minister and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis MP added: "Norfolk Conservative MPs have always worked well together and in this parliament we will demonstrate once again the effectiveness of this approach.
"Together our joint voices will ensure that Norfolk gets the further investment we need. Norfolk has real potential to become the engine room of the East of England, and working with the government, business and others, we will work to unlock that opportunity."
New North West Norfolk MP James Wild MP said: "I want to play my part in championing the investment Norfolk needs in roads, rail, broadband, and our towns and villages to level up. By working together we can ensure good health services and better schools and make Norfolk an even better place to live, work, and visit."
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Promises, promises ... now we need action
There is no doubt The Norfolk Eight want to deliver the very best for their constituencies - but can they keep their promises?
For too long Norfolk has been overlooked in favour of other parts of the country - notably the South East and now the North. And this government's focus is definitely on the parts of the country who have, in Boris Johnson's own words, "lent" the Tories their vote.
Here in the East - with the exception of Clive Lewis' Norwich seat - the Tories hold some very safe seats.
In the past Norfolk has not been rewarded for its loyalty to the Conservatives - that has to change or the region will be left behind.
During the general election campaign this newspaper published a Manifesto for Norfolk which outlined numerous issues, many of which were highlighted during the first meeting of the Norfolk Eight.
Now the people of Norfolk deserve action. We will be watching.