General Election 2017; What happened in Norfolk and Waveney?
PUBLISHED: 07:41 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:23 09 June 2017
A dramatic election night has set the country heading towards a hung parliament, but in Norfolk the story was more about the seats which were successfully defended.
In North Norfolk, Norman Lamb remains the constituency’s MP, despite the Conservatives pushing hard to unseat the Liberal Democrat.
Mr Lamb took 25,260 votes to Tory James Wild’s 21,748 and punched the air in celebration. The former health minister admitted he was convinced he would lose the seat and said he was delighted to have proved the academics, who predicted all of Norfolk would go blue, wrong.
He said: “It felt a little bit like David and Goliath at times, but I’m very, very proud of the team for delivering this victory.”
UKIP had decided not to stand and urged their supporters to ‘lend’ the Conservatives, who sent campaigners from other Norfolk constituencies to assist in the fight to unseat Mr Lamb, their votes.
Mr Lamb’s majority was cut from 4,043 to 3,512, although his share of the vote increased by just over 9pc. The Conservative share was up by nearly 11pc.
Clive Lewis, who said the Conservative performance meant prime minister Theresa May is now ‘toast’, not only held Norwich South for Labour, but he almost doubled his majority. It increased from 7,654 in 2015 to 15,596.
The Green and Liberal Democrat votes were well down in the constituency as voters ticked Mr Lewis’s box and prevented Conservative Lana Hempsall from taking a seat her party had thrown plenty at – including visits from the prime minister.
Mr Lewis said: “The people of Norwich have sent a very clear message to Theresa May. I feel this has been a turning point for us.”
Mrs Hempsall said she was “disappointed” at the result and accused Greens and Liberal Democrats of “abandoning their parties”.
She said: “It has become clear the Lib Dem and Green support has voted tactically or their vote has collapsed.
“That is catastrophic and a massive step back to the two party system. I find it disappointing that so many would abandon what they believed in.”
Chloe Smith held the other city seat - Norwich North - for the Tories, but it was far from comfortable, with Labour whittling her majority down from almost 4,500 to just over 500 votes.
Ms Smith garnered 21,900 votes to the 21,393 which Labour’s Dr Chris Jones received.
She said she was “delighted” to have retained the seat she first took in 2009. She said: “I take nothing for granted ever in the work I do here in Norwich North.
“I am delighted to have been reelected to serve and I never focus on the numbers within that. I am honoured that so many people have put that trust in me, and I would have been honoured whether it was a majority of one or 100.”
And justice secretary Elizabeth Truss kept South West Norfolk Tory blue, although she was taken ill and left the count before her victory was declared.
There had been suggestions that Peter Aldous could be vulnerable in Waveney. But the Conservative, who has been the MP there since 2010 won the seat with 28,643 votes, increasing his majority on the 2015 result.