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Candidates set for close fight in Norwich North - the most marginal seat in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:30 01 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:27 01 December 2019

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

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

Karen Davis/Adrian Holmes/Dave Thomas/Chloe Smith/David Moreland

It's Norfolk's most marginal seat, with Conservative Chloe Smith's majority whittled down from almost 4,500 to just over 500 at the last election.

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).

Labour, buoyed by their success in June 2017, made the seat, which includes areas such as Thorpe St Andrew, Hellesdon, Mile Cross, Catton, Drayton and Sprowston, one of their key targets.

Their candidate, Norwich city councillor Karen Davis, was selected just months after the last general election.

Ms Smith has held the seat since 2009, when she took it from Labour for the Tories, after Ian Gibson quit following the MP expenses scandal.

Having been on maternity leave from April until last month, Ms Smith's constituency activities had been curtailed, although she has had high-profile backing visits from prime minister Boris Johnson, chancellor Sajid Javid and Michael Gove.

The Liberal Democrat candidate is former Norfolk county councillor and current Broadland district councillor Dave Thomas, while former Norwich city councillor Adrian Holmes is the Green candidate.

UKIP's ex-police detective David Moreland previously stood unsuccessfully for the Norfolk police and crime commissioner role and for Broadland in 2017.

What are the issues?

Brexit: Norwich was an outlier in Norfolk, as the only Remain-voting part of the county in the EU referendum.

But, in Norwich North, which straddles Broadland and Norwich City Council areas,, 56.73pc voted Leave, so the differing party policies could win or lose votes.

County lines: The crime connected with the county lines drugs 
trade are major issues in the parts of the constituency nearer to the city centre - areas such as Mile Cross, Crome, Sewell and Catton Grove.

Welfare: Issues with the roll-out of universal credit have left some families relying on foodbanks. They will want pledges which will help them.

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NHS: There are problems 
getting GP appointments and a poorly performing mental health trust.

Employment: About 200 jobs were lost at Heatrae Sadia, while the Archant printworks at Broadland Business Park has closed. Voters will be looking for assurances over jobs.

Transport: The Western Link to the NDR - and whether it should be built or not - is a hot topic.

What happened in the 2017 election?

-Chloe Smith (Conservative) 21,900 (held seat for Conservatives)

-Chris Jones (Labour) 21,393

-Hugh Lanham (Liberal Democrat) 1,480

-Adrian Holmes (Green) 782

-Liam Matthews (Pirate) 340

Majority: 507

Turnout: 68.6pc

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