North Norfolk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15256 (30.9%)
Labour: 5043 (10.2%)
Lib Dem: 19299 (39.1%)
Green: 1488 (3%)
UKIP: 8328 (16.9%)
MAJORITY: 4043 (8.2%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

Geography: Eastern, Norfolk. Most of North Norfolk council area.

Main population centres: Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea, North Walsham, Holt, Sheringham.

Profile: A long, thin rural seat, stretching along the northern coast of Norfolk from Wells-next-the-Sea to the Norfolk broads and taking in much of the Norfolk Coast area of natural beauty. The area is made up of small villages and towns, Victorian beach resorts from a time before the Beeching cuts, fishing villages and market towns. Quiet, sleepy and remote - even the largest towns like Cromer have populations under 10,000 - and, like many coastal seats, it has one of the highest proportions of elderly people of any constituency in the UK.

Politics: North Norfolk had been a Labour seat in the 1950s and 1960s but the Labour rural vote has declined and Labour`s support has largely vanished. It was a very safe Conservative seat for Ralph Howell for 27 years until 1997. He was briefly replaced by David Prior, the son of former cabinet minster Jim Prior, who managed to hold on with only a 2.2% majority in 1997 before losing the seat to the Liberal Democrats in 2001 by a wafer thin majority of 483. The marginality of the seat and the high profile Conservative candidate - the blogger, commentator and Politicos bookshop founder Iain Dale - meant the seat received much attention in 2005, but in the end Norman Lamb easily retained his seat with a majority of over 10,000.

Current MP
NORMAN LAMB (Liberal Democrat) Born 1957, Watford. Educated at Wymondham College and Leicester University. Former employment lawyer. Norwich councillor 1987-1991. Contested Norfolk North 1992, 1997. First elected as MP for Norfolk North in 2001. PPS to Charles Kennedy 2003-2005, Lib Dem shadow secretary for the DTI 2004-2006, Chief of Staff to Menzies Campbell 2006, Lib Dem shadow health secretary 2006-2010. PPS to Nick Clegg 2010-2012, government whip 2010-2012, Under-secretary of state for employment relations 2012, Minister of State for care services 2012-2015. Unsuccessfully contested Lib Dem leadership election in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 15928 (32%)
Lab: 2896 (6%)
LDem: 27554 (55%)
UKIP: 2680 (5%)
Oth: 603 (1%)
MAJ: 11626 (23%)
Con: 20909 (35%)
Lab: 5447 (9%)
LDem: 31515 (53%)
UKIP: 978 (2%)
Oth: 116 (0%)
MAJ: 10606 (18%)
Con: 23495 (42%)
Lab: 7490 (13%)
LDem: 23978 (43%)
GRN: 649 (1%)
Oth: 608 (1%)
MAJ: 483 (1%)
Con: 21456 (36%)
Lab: 14736 (25%)
LDem: 20163 (34%)
MAJ: 1293 (2%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ANN STEWARD (Conservative) Breckland councillor since 2003, former Norfolk councillor.
DENISE BURKE (Labour) Educated at Cass Business School. Former local government officer and tax inspector.
NORMAN LAMB (Liberal Democrat) See above.
MICHAEL BAKER (UKIP) Born North Norfolk. Educated at Greshams School and Surrey University. Chemical engineer and businessman. North Norfolk councillor 1981-1987 and since 1999, previously an Independent. Norfolk councillor.Contested North Norfolk 2010.
MIKE MACARTNEY-FILGATE (Green) Retired social worker. Contested North Norfolk 1987.
Comments - 335 Responses on “Norfolk North”
  1. This was a spot which some posters were getting terribly excited about a gain which I just didn’t see. Admittedly in many cases like that I was badly wrong so perhaos the exception which proves the rule.

  2. I think this might’ve gone Tory if the early stages of the campaign reflected the later ones. The slight Tory decline was just enough here.

  3. That’s interesting.

  4. It would always have been an uphill struggle given his Brexit stance and the nature of the Lib Dem membership, the majority of which have joined since 2016 in order to oppose Brexit.

    It looks as if the current thought among many LDs is to let Cable have it, on the expectation that he won’t last too long given his age and then the person they really want (Swinson) can take over.

    On paper that doesn’t sound a bad plan, but in practice these things often don’t play out as people hope.

  5. Frank Bruno was campaigning for the Lib Dems? I hadn’t heard that. He’s supported the Tories in the past.

  6. Frank Bruno was campaigning for the Lib Dems? I hadn’t heard that. He’s supported the Tories in the past.’

    I remember Bruno as a Tory – and a pretty staunch one at that

    Maybe Brexit’s what’s done it for him

  7. And of course the mental health stuff – with Lamb being one of the few MPs who properly understands the issue and the nature of its underfunding

  8. I think the Tories will only ever manage to take North Norfolk back when Lamb retires here- he has never been beaten since he was first elected, unlike say Cable, Davey, Lloyd, Swinson etc. His personal vote, especially for a seat such as this demographically, clearly is huge.

  9. I can’t see the Tories, if (as expected) they’re playing defence next time around, focus too heavily here.

  10. Think you’re right. This is basically a safe seat for Lamb while he’s here.

  11. Wouldn’t quite go that far. Still, hard to picture the Tories trying again if it’s not a wave year for them.

  12. The Labour vote share decreased here, albeit only ever so slightly.

  13. Another Conservative Cllr has resigned from the Group here citing poor Group leadership on the Council.

    Cllr Nick Coppack now sits as an Independent. I assume he’ll form a group with the two other ex-Tory Cllrs who last week resigned from the Cons Group, also citing poor leadership (Cllr Angie Fitch-Tillett and Cllr John Rest).

    It makes five Cllrs who were elected as Conservatives that now sit as Independents, as in the Summer two others also left the Group on North Norfolk District Council.

  14. To update Lancs Observer’s post above – the Conservatives have now lost their majority on NNDC as an eighth councillor resigns to sit as an independent.

  15. Worstead Ward By-election, 15.02.18:

    LD 509 73% ( + 39% )
    Cons 118 17% ( – 25% )
    Lab 73 10% ( – 2% )

    LD Gain

  16. I’m glad it’s not too serious but I’d have thought it increases the likelihood of him stepping down at the next election – in which case a Con Gain becomes markedly more likely.

  17. Norman Lamb has said he is considering resigning the Lib Dem whip.

  18. Says he doesn’t want the Lib Dems to be a “mirror ERG”, unwilling to accept any compromise. Clearly frustrated that his colleagues’ intransigence helped defeat the Clarke Amendment.

  19. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Lib Dems have shrunk into the party of south west London, Oxbridge and Bath. We can see now that their MPs with seats far outside that bubble have started to flake off (Lloyd, now Lamb). Unless they change course there will be more. If TIG/CUK make a go of things, it will make this an even more urgent issue.

  20. Interesting thought experiment – if the Tories had won a majority in 2010 and the Lib Dems had avoided the stain of coalition, but history had otherwise continued as in this world, with Brexit happening and the Lib Dems nailing their pro-EU colours to the mast, would they still be struggling in Cornwall and similar places?

  21. And what about anti-EU Lab/Lib seats? In this alternative universe could they hang on to Birmingham Yardley, for example?

  22. If the LDs had kept their seats in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset they would be pursuing a much more balanced approach to the Brexit question. One of the reason they are Remoaner Central at the moment is that most of their rump of remaining seats are in that kind of place.

    Had the Lib Dems still had 50-odd seats at the time of the referendum they would have been much more powerful in the campaign and might have pushed Remain over the line.

  23. Norman Lamb has received a knighthood.

    Good on him.

  24. Norman Lamb has announced his retirement at the next election.

    Makes the seat of North Norfolk quite an interesting one. On the one hand, the Lib Dems have doubled their national vote share since the last election; however, Lamb is taking a huge personal vote with him, one of the biggest in parliament. And although Brecon & Radnorshire demonstrates that they can still compete in rural areas, North Norfolk is hardly filled with people from the party’s target demographics.

  25. ‘Makes the seat of North Norfolk quite an interesting one.’

    Indeed although the 3 key characteristics of the seat all work against the Lib Dems:

    1) Pro Brexit
    2) Rural
    3) White working class

    Brecon & Radnorshire is different as it was a by-election, the Lib Dems have a long history of being the opposition to the Tories there and yet they still needed the cooperation of the other anti Brexit parties to win

    I would have thought this will crease being a Lib Dem seat on Lamb’s first day of retirement

  26. While I liked Norman Lamb generally, disappointed at his mutterings about leaving the Lib Dems earlier in the year due to their attitude over certain Brexit votes.

    How this seat goes at the next election will depend on a variety of factors, including how the Tory/Brexit vote splits and the calibre of the various candidates. The Lib Dems do have a reasonable local government presence in the constituency, how much due to Mr Lamb, I don’t know.

    While I’d think it unlikely the Lib Dems will hold, not quite so certain of the outcome as Tim Jones above.

  27. Given that Tory MEMBERS in this seat are too few and too crusty, shooting themselves in the foot regularly – hence they cede control of the council to LD most of the time now – there is every chance of LDs retaining this seat post-Lamb.

    Lamb’s / LD’s influence (I believe) also stopped NN voting as strongly Brexit as would have been expected, so they won part of the argument already.

    That said, a strong Tory candidate – think the 2017 one was quite ok? – and a visit from Boris to stir things up, might well hit the spot for them.

  28. My instinct is that Norman Lamb’s retirement and the much-improved national polling for the Lib Dems will largely cancel out, and their new candidate will be returned on a similar majority to what they have now.

  29. Close but Con gain I think – fear of Corbyn strong here I would think

  30. Mr Lamb must have had one heck of a personal vote here

  31. Yes he did although also a continuation of the 2017 swing.

    Sort of seat where Boris would go down very well amongst oldies.

  32. On paper this seemed a fairly obvious Tory gain once Lamb had stepped down, but not many of the polls had this down as that

    The Lib Dem vote here was entirely personal and in fact they performed ok in 2019 in what is a wwc, pro-Brexit rural seat full of old people, not their demographic at all

  33. Lamb did brilliantly to hang on here for as long as he did. Great effort. I’ve always quite liked him.

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