Election expenses - North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb’s agent reveals General Election result could have been ‘very different’

James Wild (Conservative), Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrats) and Stephen Burke (Labour) contested the

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 - Credit: Archant

Norman Lamb spent more money than any other candidate in his local campaign to get re-elected as MP for North Norfolk at last month’s General Election, figures released this week have revealed.

And, with his majority being cut from 4,043 votes to 3,512 votes, his agent, Dr Edward Maxfield, revealed he might not have won the seat back otherwise.

The Liberal Democrat politician, who has served the constituency for 16 years, claimed a total of £14,650.04 in expenses during the campaign - just shy of the spending limit of £14,934.39.

That is almost three times more than third-placed Labour candidate Stephen Burke, who spent £55,35.77, and more than £2000 more than runner-up James Wild, of the Conservative Party, who spent £12,627.14.

All three candidates had to hand in their expenses to North Norfolk District Council by Friday.

Mr Lamb’s costs included £7,473.30 on “unsolicited material to electors”, £3,787.48 in “advertising”, £2,189.26 in “accommodation and administration”, and £1200 in “agent and other staff costs”.

Defending the figures, Mr Maxfield, who also represents Mundesley division on Norfolk County Council, said: “Election campaigning tends to be a year-round affair these days but obviously when the ‘official’ campaign kicks off the parties increase what they do. We knew that the Conservatives would throw a lot of money at their campaign this time and we knew we would have to match them in getting our message across.”

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But he added: “I am pretty sure that if we had put no effort into reminding people about Norman Lamb’s work for North Norfolk, we would have seen a very different result.”

The figures were reflected in the voting on June 8 with Mr Lamb polling 25,260 votes - 3,512 votes more than Mr Wild, who polled 21,748 votes, while Mr Burke polled 5,180 votes.

Mr Burke, who is also chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, said: “These figures reflect spending by the respective local parties. What they don’t include is the national spending by both the LibDems and the Tories which paid for what seemed like almost daily direct mailshots, telephone banks, newspaper and online advertising as well as staff. The result reflects the total level of local and national spending.”

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