5 issues that could swing the vote in North West Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 11:27 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:09 11 December 2019
North West Norfolk remained Conservative with a majority of almost 14,000 last time around.
But will veteran Tory Sir Henry Bellingham's retirement create potential for an upset in a four-horse race between James Wild (Con), Jo Rust (Lab), Rob Colwell (Lib Dem) and Michael de Whalley (Green)?
The constituency was formed in 1974 after a shake up of seats and Tory Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler - who had been the King's Lynn MP - was elected.
He continued as MP until 1983 when he fell out with the party and defected to the newly-formed SDP. But the Conservative landslide in that year's election saw Sir Henry grab the seat with a slim majority of 3,000.
The clear favourite this year is Tory candidate Mr Wild. But then he was also the favourite in 2017 when he stood in North Norfolk against Lib Dem incumbent Sir Norman Lamb.
Although it was tight Sir Norman held on. Mr Wild believes his bid two years ago was derailed by the Conservatives' "complicated" offering.
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"Hopefully this time our manifesto will be more popular," he said. "This time we have pledges on investment more for the police, schools and the NHS - those are the issues that last time we didn't have such good answers on. In 2017 there was definitely a turn on the door once the manifesto had been published. People were concerned about the social care policy and it was quite complicated to explain to people. I am looking forward to our manifesto this time."
What are the five big issues in North West Norfolk?
- Who can fix the root causes of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's ills, which have left it under-staffed and under-resourced?
- Lack of GPs and NHS dentists might also come high on many voters' wish-lists.
- How can massive development planned for the A10 corridor be accommodated without yet more gridlock?
- Improvements to road and rail are badly needed, with the A47, A149 and Ely North Junction in need of action, not words.
- Climate change remains the elephant in the room , with large swathes of the seat vulnerable to flooding.
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