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”
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  1. Is Norman Lamb considered to be quite right wing for a Lib Dem?

    Seen him speaking a few times and was agreeing a bit – I’m getting worried.
    Seems very unlike Farron, Kennedy, Cable, etc.

  2. Yes Joe he is.

  3. Lamb always comes across as a reasonable, boring, trustworthy old-fashioned bank manager type. As you say, very different from the more sanctimonious kind of Lib Dem like Farron or Hughes. You can see how he fits in so well here, especially in contrast to a slightly camp metropolitan opponent like Iain Dale which is how he won the seat in the first place. This will in all likelihood be another Berwick-upon-Tweed.

  4. His 2010 opponent was a far more local less metropolitan type, but he did even worse than Iain Dale

  5. I though the 2005 results was motre down to Iain Dale than Norman Lamb but the 2010 proived it was the latter

    Lamb is a kind of right-hand man of Nick Clegg and definitely hails from the Rigfht of the party.

    With the exception of Jeremy Browne, he’s arguably the most right-wing Lib Dem MP of the current crop

  6. “His 2010 opponent was a far more local less metropolitan type, but he did even worse than Iain Dale”

    True, but once a good Lib Dem gets dug in even a good candidate can find it impossible to beat them.

    To get their foot in the door in the first place however often necessitates a weak candidate defending the seat.

  7. (of course Dale wasn’t strictly defending the seat….it had been lost in 2001 by David Prior)

  8. UKIP appear to have done quite well here in the county council elections

  9. Talk of Lamb as a ‘very right wing’ (in Lib Dem terms) is kind of missing the point. He’s very undogmatic on economics which in itself is a very Liberal thing to be, liberalism of course not being an economics based ideology. He’s very, and I mean very keen on mutualisation, co-operatives and staff ownership models which is not very ‘right wing’ at all. Quite a Radical actually.

  10. And he’s not anti assisted dying in his health job, unfortunately – again not a very rightwing stance although these things do cross political divides.

  11. I don’t see much wrong with mutualisation, co-operatives or staff ownership nor assisted dying.

  12. How did the recent local elections go here?

  13. Interesting result in the North Norfolk council area in this year’s local election for Norfolk CC, (although I realise the constituency no longer covers the same acreage as the district):

    Con: 8,774
    LD: 8,388
    UKIP: 8,330
    Lab: 5,234
    Green: 1,377
    Others: 588

    Norfolk results:

  14. As in Lewes, there must have been a lot of Lib Dem – UKIP switching here.

  15. As a minister he’s very receptive to the voters. Gave £35 million for new ambulances so that more people can get to A&E and at the same time cut £25 million from the geriatric budget so that once you’re in A&E you’ve nowhere
    to go.

  16. If there is to be a Lib Dem who will hold their seat without any problems in 2015, then Lamb is surely one.

    He has keenly fought this seat ever since 1992 and has been in here for exactly 12 years now. I suspect the result in 1997 helped Lamb massively here and made it a lot easier for him to gain this seat from David Prior. But the 2005 result would appear to confirm that Lamb had built up a personal vote.

    This really is quite an intriguing seat in many ways- Firstly, before Lamb was candidate for the Lib Dems the Liberals had never come close here ever before, certainly post-war. It could just be but I kind of get the feeling that this is the type of Lib Dem seat that is held by them purely because of the hard work of their consistent candidate over a very long period of time- I think Lamb’s following is somewhat larger than the Lib Dems’ local success in this part of Norfolk.

  17. I find these figures a bit surprising – thanks for them Andy.

    The Lib Dems only lost about 3 County Council seats in the County, and I had suspected a sticky LD vote here combined with Labour and UKIP progress was a contributory factor to the Tories losing control.

  18. No surprises that Holt is UKIP – It is on the district.

  19. it’s alright having shiny new ambulances but patients have to have a bed to go to when they actually arrive

  20. “I think Lamb’s following is somewhat larger than the Lib Dems’ local success in this part of Norfolk.”

    Not sure why you had to waste 3 long paragraphs on saying something which is so blatantly obvious.

  21. ”Not sure why you had to waste 3 long paragraphs on saying something which is so blatantly obvious.”

    And I’m not sure why you had to waste two lines on saying something which is so blatantly arrogant.

    I just wanted to give my own insight- Is that a crime?

  22. What kind of insight is that. Given that Lamb regularly gets as much as double the vote of Lib Dems in local elections what you said is obvious to anyone. What’s your next post going to be….I have noticed that night follows day?

  23. Please don’t patronise me.

    You have no right to put me down for stating the obvious.

    In fact you have no right to put me down full stop. Have you any kindness in your heart?

  24. Lamb did well to come through here in 1997 when Labour had only been fewer than 3000 votes behind in 1992.

  25. Yes, but perhaps the retention of second in 1992 was crucial though,

  26. is metton in this seat

  27. ‘Yes, but perhaps the retention of second in 1992 was crucial though,’

    Maybe so – but it didn’t work out that way in places like Hastings, and Leeds North West

  28. i hope someone knows the answer to my question

  29. North Walsham East seat on Norfolk County Council yesterday:

    LD Eric Seward 1044 (40.9%; +5.8)
    UKIP 565 (22.1%; -1.0)
    Lab 442 (17.3%; -3.9)
    Con 359 (14.1%; -2.4)
    Grn 80 (3.1%; -0.9)
    Ind 61 (2.4%; +2.4)
    Lib Dem Hold

  30. I can see UKIP achieving 3rd place in all Norfolk seats apart from Broadland , Norwich N and Norwich S in 2015.

  31. LD: 37%
    UKIP: 27%
    CON: 25%
    LAB: 9%
    GRN: 2%

  32. Yes I think Metton is in this seat

  33. That looks very high for UKIP here

  34. I am of the view that UKIP will not go down much in 2015, and that this set will be one of their targets considering that they were not far off notionally winning here in May. However, I don’t think they will win here as I am sure that this seat is Lamb’s for the taking again.

  35. I think that prediction is a bit off the mark.
    UKIP may get nearer about 10%
    but I predict a reduced, but still substantial LD majority – over the Conservatives.
    Labour should do rather better than that aswell.

  36. I think Lamb is going to hold his seat obviously, but if I had to make a prediction it would be nothing like 111’s.

  37. 45-30-12-12-2 rounded
    ( a range either side)

  38. Yes that sounds about right. I can realistically imagine UKIP gaining a fair few votes off Lamb here.

  39. Possible scenario in 2015

    LD 36
    Con 30
    Lab 12
    Others 5

    The Conservatives are heading for ‘electoral ruin’ nationally in 2015 IMO because UKIP has been soaring in local/by elections right across East Anglia and in many other places this year.

    The by election which really stunned/reassured me and got my attention was the Thetford W one back in August.

    English by election trends here:

  40. ‘Lamb always comes across as a reasonable, boring, trustworthy old-fashioned bank manager type. As you say, very different from the more sanctimonious kind of Lib Dem like Farron or Hughes. You can see how he fits in so well here, especially in contrast to a slightly camp metropolitan opponent like Iain Dale which is how he won the seat in the first place. This will in all likelihood be another Berwick-upon-Tweed.’

    I honestly think the LDs will hold Berwick upon Tweed now.


  41. There candidate really doesn’t suit the territory – genuinely local but metropolitan lefty views that aren’t going to go down well in countryside that can vote either LD or Tory.

    It might go down ok in Berwick itself – Amble will vote Labour no matter what, but is totally alone in that regard.

  42. “North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has been unanimously reselected to stand in the next general election for the Liberal Democrats”:

  43. That is not a shock. Norman Lamb must have one of the biggest personal votes out of all Lib Dem MPs, along with Menzies Campbell, Charles Kennedy, Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, and Tim Farron. I know most in that party rely on that very thing to stay in Parliament, but Lamb’s results over the years have stood out and show clear support for him as an individual, than just the Liberal Democrats.

  44. It’s also not the kind of seat you’d expect the Lib Dems to do all that well in – it stands out even more so.
    If I didn’t know exactly where it was I’d expect it to be a strong C seat with Labour second – perhaps even last time.

  45. Agreed. It’s idle speculation on my part conceivably but without Lamb having ever been candidate this would probably still be a safe Conservative seat with five figure majorities and 50+% of the vote like it was between 1974 and 1992. I think the fateful result in this seat came here in 1997, when crucially Labour didn’t shoot up like in other Norfolk seats, suggesting that Lamb had managed to establish himself as the Anti-Conservative alternative. This clear positioning led to Lamb’s gain in 2001, where Labour’s vote was tactically squeezed right down, but sitting Conservative David Prior did manage a 5.3% increase even in losing. The result in 2005 is best explained by a few things- Firstly, Lamb’s incumbency, second, the fact that Prior wasn’t the candidate again (Iain Dale fell 6.3%, nearly bar 1% all of Prior’s increase in 2001) and also probably because some remaining Labour supporters by now realised where to put their vote to keep the Conservatives out.

  46. A very unfortunate Tory result in 2001 – a big increase in vote share – only about 5,000 below 1992 although I am not looking at notionals.

    Obviously the large Labour total provided the squeeze but the very fact that Labour had such a respectable total in the 1990s makes such a heavy squeeze slightly surprising aswell.

  47. I think Labour sank quickly here because of the effect Lamb had as candidate. In 1997, he probably didn’t win the seat because it was a year of increases everywhere of some variety for Labour, so because Labour still marginally went up Lamb was disadvantaged and was still 1,000 votes away from winning as he had to rely on the Tory collapse to get through. In 2001 he didn’t have to rely on this, knowing a lot of Labour supporters would probably now back him tactically knowing they had no chance of winning. Also, I don’t know where Labour’s local base went in this period but the parliamentary results suggest they have no real strength left because it’s all been tactically suppressed because of Lamb’s presence.

  48. As with Norman Baker in Lewes and Steve Webb in Thornbury, Lamb has built up a very substantial personal vore in a seat that used to be strongly Tory, although, unlike the other two, this seat does have a Labour tradition who held the seat between 1945-70

    It is perhaps odd that the Tories lost the seat after polling their highest numerical vote since 1992

  49. The comparisons with Baker and Webb are very apt as they too both gained their seats with initially marginal majorities, and then shot up in 2001, probably because of a combination of incumbency and the national increase for the Liberal Democrats. Interesting that while both Baker and Webb then went on to slightly decrease in 2005, Lamb continued to increase in 2010, even though he had a large increase in 2005 like the other two.

    The increase for Prior in 2001 may well have been down to incumbency- The Tories had some good increases in Norfolk and Suffolk, both very very rural counties.

  50. There has clearly been a very marked tactical vote here, with Labour down to 6%. Now that Norman Lamb is a Coalition minister the Labour vote is likely to revive.

    Labour are so far down they are very unlikely to win here. However, a shift of 1/3 – 1/2 of the LibDem vote elsewhere could give this seat to the Conservatives, even if they are not doing well nationwide.

    We also need to consider how well UKIP will do. This is the sort of Eastern Englad seat in which, other things being equal, they could pick up votes. Paradoxically, if UKIP pick up votes form the Tories they could save Lamb his seat.

    This is not a seat to overlook and then be surprised.

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