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. ORIELENSIS: Henretty also has Bristol West as a very likely LD gain, along with Bermondsey, and Farron’s and Mulholland’s seats as likely losses. HIs prediction is UNS-based, so it’s often good OVERALL but on specific seats he’s almost certainly way, way off.

  2. According to Guido, Dr Hanretty, UEA’s respected psephologist, has said it is 100% likely Tory gain. Electoral Calculus has a similar result.
    It surprises me, as the Tories are on a low base and even with the UKIP vote did not get 50% of the vote last time.
    But it is a very strong Brexit constituency and Farron’s strong Remain campaign may backfire here. There may even be some Brexit Labour votes going to the Tories. I know Lamb is locally popular but it’s the only tide in his favour.

  3. And as I just explained, that data is based on UNS, not on other factors. UNS is not a surefire way to predict things. C’mon man, use your head.

  4. Sorry about the repetition. Sometimes the iPad freezes and odd things happen.
    I understand about UNS. I do occasionally use my head, Mr Pitt. But as I understand it ElectoralCalculus use a more sophisticated model and they too have come up with a Tory gain, though with less degree of certainty, while predicting an LD win in Westmoreland. All that this is saying, I think, is that it is going to be very tight, which is why I brought up Brexit supporting Labour voters. According to ElectoralCalculus about 12% of such voters will switch to the Tories. In a heavily Brexit area like this a squeeze on the Labour vote may not go one way.

  5. The Labour voter argument is fair.

    I think the idea that this is a “100% Tory gain” as you said above is just an absurdity, however. Flip a coin, maybe a slight Tory advantage, but that’s all. Far from guaranteed.

    And the idea of a Labour or Tory gain of Leeds is absurd, too, as is the thought that the LDs will gain Bristol West. I’m just saying, Henretty and Electoral Calculus are far from infallible. In fact, for individual races, they’re often total rubbish.

  6. Sorry to sound like a stuck record. . . but Con gain, and not super- close either.

  7. I think it’ll be close either way, but honestly it’s hard to predict for me. Lamb has defied expectations before and I won’t count him out until I hear “James Wild has been elected” from the returning officer on election night. That said, Tory gain appears more likely than not right now. I don’t think it will be “not super close,” though.

  8. Obviously any predictions we make on individual seats now are based on current national polling, and as far as I I concerned are followed by the invisible words “adjust as necessary in line with changes in polls between now and the actual result”, no more, no less! I.e. If Tories end up back on 37%+ on the day and LDs on 14%, then Lamb may well hold.

    Based on today, I would expect Tory majority of c. 15%.

  9. Use a bit of logic, facts AND a calculator.

    A lot of people forget the latter, and predict insanely small changes. How many UKPR posters predicted the 56 seats for SNP before last election, in spite of evidence?

  10. Fox attacks Lamb – too good a headline for the local press to ignore as Liam Fox becomes the latest big gun to be wheeled out in North Norfolk.

  11. “Obviously any predictions we make on individual seats now are based on current national polling, and as far as I I concerned are followed by the invisible words “adjust as necessary in line with changes in polls between now and the actual result”, no more, no less! I.e. If Tories end up back on 37%+ on the day and LDs on 14%, then Lamb may well hold.

    Based on today, I would expect Tory majority of c. 15%.”

    I sort of agree. this reminds me of 2015 when UNS indicated that the lib dems would get 8 seats on a % vote of 8%. everyone thought somehow they would defy the national picture, and their vote would be so idiosyncratic and lumpy that they would magically hold 20+ seats.

    It’s the same this time. most UNS indicators have the lib dems losing seats NET, yet the betting is still about 13 seats. having said that at the beginning of the campaign there were betting sites which had the liberals on 23-25 seats.

    Under current polling, this seat is a tory gain. the tories are on about 45%, about 9% up on 2015, whereas the liberals are on about 9%, an increase of 1%, meaning a 4% lib to con swing.

    Having said all that Lamb still clings on by the skin of his teeth on such a swing.

  12. “Under current polling, this seat is a tory gain. the tories are on about 45%”

    It won’t necessarily affect your prediction on this seat, but if there’s one thing I’m sure about now, it’s that the Tories won’t get 45% or anything close to it. May’s bubble has well and truly burst. IMO the Tories will be lucky to squeak a smallish majority on 40% or so, perhaps even a minor swing to Labour if the Lib Dems, UKIP and Greens remain so low.

  13. I don’t think it’ll be as low as 40, but I agree with Hemmelig that it will probably be lower than 45%.

    My guess would be 42% or so.

  14. If the Tories drop to 40% and the Lib Dems stay on 8% or above that will only be a 1.5% swing LD to Con and Lamb will hold this seat…

  15. This seat played almost exactly on UNS from 2010 to 2015 and I don’t really see why it should be so different this time as to give a 15% majority for the Tories. On current polls the Tories may win but not by much..

  16. Should be close either way, I think. That seems to be the consensus here. Maybe slightly to the Tories as favorites, but not by a load.

  17. Too early to say if the bubble has burst but May s star isn’t burning so brightly. The U turns plays to the right ‘s suspicion that she won’t be strong on brexit, “easy to push around, weak” , while the initial policy will have alienated a portion of her base. Total cluster f*ck.

    Having said all that I’ve seen plenty of these wobbles before. 1987 being most memorable. Not sure how much will be affected on 8 June!

  18. I’m not sure would agree with Liam Fox’s assertion that you’re better off being represented by the party of government. It would depend on whether your MP wanted to climb up the greasy pole or would prioritise looking after constituency issues.

    Would still expect a fairly close result here.

  19. Peter

    Surely May’s deficiencies will benefit the right. If she fails in negotiations with the EU and we crash out on WTO terms, the Redwood tendency will be delighted.

    The more nervous will be centrists who swallowed the “I’m the only one who can stand up for Britain in the Brexit negotiations” line. After her total lack of preparation and nous in the past week that looks like a very exaggerated claim. Juncker etc will eat her for breakfast.

  20. HH- I must admit I am detecting a certain relish in your comments. I am not criticising you for that by the way- I would have been quite content to see the Cameron-Osborne duopoly lose to Miliband in 2015 but it’s amusing how our positions have crossed.

  21. Relish that spotty 20 year olds who told me to “bugger off back to Europe” are likely to end up looking pretty stupid, yes.

    Also very relieved to be lucky enough to have a business which is virtually 0% dependent on the UK economy (in case of Brexit going tits up or, heaven forbid, PM Corbyn entering No 10).

    But from the country’s perspective I don’t relish the awful choice in this election. It’s a choice between an idiot, a communist and the emporor’s new clothes. Very bad for Britain.

  22. A communist? He isn’t that radical. He isn’t even the most radical in his party. TBH Labour hasnt had a good leader in ten years. The Tories havent had one for twenty.

  23. I’m in an odd position this election, too. In some ways, 2015 and 2010 were an embarrassment of riches for me. I am quite politically at home with the Bright Blue liberal conservative/classically liberal Tories and the Orange Bookers in the Lib Dems, so Clegg and Cameron both appealed to me. I thought relatively highly of Blair back in the day, too, though I didn’t vote for him (I wasn’t living in a place where a Labour vote would have been particularly logical).

    Now we’ve got May’s Christian democracy-influenced right-wing socialism — plus Brexit — beside Corbyn’s statism and hard-leftism, with Farron’s preachy country vicar version of liberalism.

    Where’s a classically liberal/liberal conservative, internationalist, pro-Europe, pro-civil liberties type to go? The seat I’m living in now is safe as houses for the Tories, so I might vote LD just to lodge a complaint on Brexit, but I won’t be happy about it. I’m just hoping Remainers pick up as many seats as possible to make May’s Brexit not quite as hard as it might be.

  24. I used to think that the Orange Bookers in the LD’s were a waste of space. If you wanted smaller government (for the most part), vote Conservative. Indeed, I think Thatcher actually said that had Gladstone been alive, he would have been a paid member of the Conservative Party.

    Then I recognised that the key difference between the Orange Bookers and Tories of a similar disposition was EUROPE. Post 1990, the Tories have become quite extraordinarily extreme Eurosceptics while the Orange Bookers have pretty much claimed the old Conservative philosophy of internationalism and being pro-EU.

  25. I owe fellow posters an apology.

    I kept citing Brexit’s 68% vote here as a clear reason why this seat was the Lib Dems’ most likely 2015 hold to fall.

    Maybe it still will be, but the Brexit vote was actually 58%, so a closer result is likely (even on the national polling my predictions were based on, before tightening of polls) and I can see the rationale why some would predict Carshalton as more likely to fall first.

  26. Exactly the same for me. I also have the slightest feeling or morbid relish as I get to watch the Brexit from the safety of Sweden where I’ll be able to apply for a passport in September. My partner is Spanish so I also have options there. Although Swedish citizenship is much better as it will allow me to have my cake and eat it by allowing dual nationality.

  27. Yes, Wreathy, I think there are very, very real differences between the two — and it’s more than just smaller government. Plus, the old reason Laws wasn’t a Tory: civil rights and liberties.

    And thanks for the update BT Says. Not everyone corrects themselves, so it’s good of you.

  28. ‘I used to think that the Orange Bookers in the LD’s were a waste of space. If you wanted smaller government (for the most part), vote Conservative. Indeed, I think Thatcher actually said that had Gladstone been alive, he would have been a paid member of the Conservative Party.’

    The Orange bookers are most akin to centre-right European parties like the VVD in the Netherlands – socially and economically liberal, broadly internationalist and pro European

    There’s nothing like that in the UK at the moment – the Tories aren’t socially liberal and the Lib Dems under their current leader are currently more Social Democratic than liberal

  29. Have picked up rather an interesting phenomenon in the last few days. Anecdotal but it’s a curious one if it’s more broadly spread.

    Essentially people who might have tactically voted Lib Dem in LD/Tory marginals now not doing so on the grounds that the Tories are so far ahead it would be pointless.

    I suppose it makes sense. If you’re a Labour supporter, there’s no difference of outcome between voting Lib Dem and watching them get 30% and lose and voting Labour, watching them get 12% and lose. Might as well do what you actually want.

    I’m increasingly of the view that the Liberals benefit most when Labour is strong.

  30. To put it a different way, Nameless: the Lib Dems need the Tories to be weak.

    And I’d imagine that’s very much a personal/seat-by-seat thing. That may end up being true in seats in the SW where the LDs are falling away, but less true in seats where they seem closer.

    Would also be curious if that’s a more “anti-Tory voter” thing or a more “tactical pro-Remain” thing, or both.

  31. Mr Nameless,
    I did look at lib Dem performance in the terms you mention. In the times when they were polling over 15%, they tended to do better in terms of votes when the Tories were doing well, and better in terms of seats when Labour were doing well.

    I am not sure that has any relevance in present circumstances however…

  32. Tories are still bringing in the heavyweights here with a visit from Phillip Hammond in North Walsham, where Norman Lamb was campaigning a few days ago with another heavyweight – Frank Bruno.

    Rumour is that PM will be here next week.

  33. North Walsham? That’s the centre of Lib Dem support in this seat if I’m not mistaken? Tory heavy hitters heading there suggests one of two things.

    1) Things are going so well for them here they can march right into the Libs core area, bold as brass.

    2) Things aren’t going as smoothly and they feel they need to search everywhere for votes cos the very rural areas and the elderly coastal retirement towns aren’t cutting it by themselves.

  34. Good call Rivers.

    N.Walsham has long been seen as Lamb’s stronghold, and a change from the Fallon and Truss visits which were both to Holt – which is possibly the UKIP centre of support.

    Avoiding the coastal towns is more to do with holidaymakers this week.

  35. Sajid Javid visited Sheringham this week. My girlfriend’s mum reports a house with a UKIP garden stake up there, which means there’s at least one voter in for a big surprise.

  36. Holt used to be stronger for the lib dems than north walsham but as in the West Country that wwc vote that once helped the lib dems win seats like these from the Tories, seems to have desserted the lib dems altogether and their position on Brexit wont help them here

    Lamb should be well entrenched enough here to withstand that but its unlikely to help the lib dems in other rural seats

  37. Yougov snapshot here is Con 42, LD 39, Lab 19.

    The 95% range on Labour is 13-27 up from 10 last time.

    On that evidence the tactical vote is not yet strong (although I seem to recall reading somewhere that tactical shuffles tend to happen quite late)

  38. Yes, it depends on the Labour vote split.

    The Tories dipping in the polls is obviously good for Lamb, though. He’d probably a Tory drop and Labour rise than the reverse, all told, because those who won’t vote tactically here would be diehard Labour anyway, whereas there are bound to be quite a few LD/Tory switchers (that’s including vice versa as well).

  39. LD source in the Guardian today: “we are not going to lose that seat.”

    Denial, confidence based in reality, or determined but close fight?

    Link, for those interested:

  40. Lib Dem hold

  41. Excellent result for Lamb, he looked really happy and I am delighted for him, he comes across very well.

  42. Possibly the most surprising hold out of all of them when it looked very bleak for Lamb.

  43. I have a suspicion that this might be the last serious Tory attempt at capturing N Norfolk for a while – given Labour’s good result, they can now put Norfolk resources towards properly challenging the Tories in Great Yarmouth and Norwich North, which will leave the Tories fighting serious defensive battles and less likely to play offence against Lamb.

  44. Basically until Lamb retires. Iain Dale has written at length about his efforts to win this seat – specifically mentioning voter after voter who told him, “I’m normally a Conservative but I really like Mr Lamb”. Huge personal vote for the man.

  45. Norman Lamb is retweeting stuff from people saying he’d make a good leader. I take that to mean he’s standing.

  46. Hmm. Not sure his Brexit stance would work with the current LD selectorate.

  47. Lamb was on Question Time last night and in response to a question told the audience that he was thinking about a leadership bid.

  48. He said he would make decision in about a week. I am confident that SWINSON will be given the job. And as a Scotland MP, born in Glasgow etc will likely increase LD support in Scotland

  49. Alex F, I’d start questioning that confidence in Swinson.

    Also, Lamb is retweeting a lot of stuff from people encouraging him to stand, which makes it seem like he will.

  50. This really stood out to me on the night as an excellent hold for Norman Lamb in my personal opinion.

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