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Constituency profile: North Norfolk seat provides food for thought for the voters

PUBLISHED: 09:48 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:48 22 May 2017

James Wild (Conservative), Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrats) and Stephen Burke (Labour) contested the North Norfolk seat at the General Election on June 8. Picture: Ally McGilvray

James Wild (Conservative), Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrats) and Stephen Burke (Labour) contested the North Norfolk seat at the General Election on June 8. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Archant

It has one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe and it has unearthed some mammoth surprises in recent times.

And another may just about to be exposed.

North Norfolk is one of the UK Parliament’s most comely constituencies. But its crumbling cliffs are disappearing faster than UKIP after the local government elections. And now a sea of Conservative blue is threatening to swallow the county as a whole.

Liberal Democrat candidate Norman Lamb, who has held the seat since 2001, has seen his majority reduce from 11,626 in 2010 to 4,043 at the last General Election in 2015. With UKIP urging its 8,328 supporters in the constituency to vote Tory, who polled 15,256 last time around, the Lib Dems, could be threatened.

Mr Lamb’s biggest downfall could be his decision not to vote on Article 50 – the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union – despite 58.9pc of voters in the North Norfolk District Council area, which makes up the vast majority of the constituency, saying they wanted to leave.

However, the former health minister has won an army of admirers – in and out of the constituency - for his work campaigning for improved mental health services.

And he can expect some support from the Green Party, who picked up 1,488 votes at the last count but are not fielding a candidate.

But, with Mr Lamb having broken a pre-election promise to oppose higher university tuition fees when he served in the coalition government with the Tories in 2010, voters will struggle to know who to trust.

With Theresa May on course for an overall landslide victory, Conservative candidate James Wild argues North Norfolk stands a better chance of investment if he is elected.

That is disputed by Labour candidate Stephen Burke who has questioned why, after more than half a century of North Norfolk being represented by Tory and LibDem MPs, 3000 people in the district - 1,000 of them children - are now relying on emergency food handouts to survive?

Under the first past the post system, voters have food for thought.

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