South West Norfolk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25515 (50.9%)
Labour: 8649 (17.3%)
Lib Dem: 2217 (4.4%)
Green: 2075 (4.1%)
UKIP: 11654 (23.3%)
MAJORITY: 13861 (27.7%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Norfolk. Part of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk council area and part of Breckland council area.

Main population centres: Downham Market, Thetford, Swaffham.

Profile: A largely rural seat in Norfolk, stretching from rich agricultural fenland in the west to the pine forests around Thetford in the east. The electorate is scattered across small villages, the market towns of Downham and Swaffham and the much larger town of Thetford. Thetford in particular has a large Portuguese community, attracted by agricultural and factory work. To the north of Thetford is the Stanford Training Area, a large area containing several evacuated and purpose built villages for British army training.

Politics: The South West Norfolk seat was held by Labour in the 1950s, but with the decline of Labour's traditional rural vote it has become a safe Conservative seat, with the former cabinet minister Gillian Shephard its most notable recent MP. The current MP Liz Truss received some media attention after her original selection when it was revealed she was having an affair with an MP, resulting in an unsuccessful attempt to deselect her by local Tories described in the press as the "turnip taliban".


Current MP
ELIZABETH TRUSS (Conservative) Born 1975, Oxford. Educated at Roundhay School and Oxford University. Former management accountant and deputy director of Reform. Greenwich councillor 2006-2010. Contested Hemsworth 2001, Calder Valley 2005. First elected as MP for South West North in 2010. Under-secretary of state for Early years education 2012-2014. Environment Secretary since 2014. Truss`s initial selection as a candidate was controversial - shortly after her selection it was revealed she had an affair with Conservative MP Mark Field, resulting in some local calls for her deselection. A vote by local party members later backed her as candidate. Truss is the founder and convenor of the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23753 (48%)
Lab: 9119 (19%)
LDem: 10613 (22%)
UKIP: 3061 (6%)
Oth: 2604 (5%)
MAJ: 13140 (27%)
2005*
Con: 25881 (47%)
Lab: 15795 (29%)
LDem: 10207 (19%)
UKIP: 2738 (5%)
Oth: 506 (1%)
MAJ: 10086 (18%)
2001
Con: 27633 (52%)
Lab: 18267 (34%)
LDem: 5681 (11%)
UKIP: 1368 (3%)
MAJ: 9366 (18%)
1997
Con: 24694 (42%)
Lab: 22230 (38%)
LDem: 8178 (14%)
MAJ: 2464 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ELIZABETH TRUSS (Conservative) See above.
PETER SMITH (Labour) Contested South West Norfolk 2010.
RUPERT MOSS-ECCARDT (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Downham Market Grammar and Nottingham University. IT security consultant. Former Cambridgeshire councillor. Contested Cambridgeshire Police Commissioner election 2012.
PAUL SMYTH (UKIP)
SANDRA WALMSLEY (Green)
Links
Comments - 148 Responses on “Norfolk South West”
  1. Liz Truss the first member of the cabinet to publicly say they voting to keep No Deal on the table.

  2. She’s running…

  3. Others expected to vote for No Deal to remain on the table include Steve Barclay, Andrea Leadson and Gavin Williamson.

  4. I have to say, it does seem like a virtue signalling amendment and hence I don’t blame these MPs for stating the obvious.

  5. One for Tristan and any other fashionistas here……Truss embellishes her leadership credentials by posing for a “Tory power stance” pic on what look like circus stilts! Warning, pictures can not be unseen.

    https://twitter.com/IanDunt/status/1127841221949501440/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliticalbetting.vanillacommunity.com%2Fdiscussion%2F7591%2Fpoliticalbetting-com-blog-archive-if-graham-brady-had-acted-differently-in-july-2016-tmay-might

  6. Liz Truss would bomb with the public – her ultra ecnomic liberalism is not popular and I don’t think she would win nationlist votes from Farrage and even

  7. # Even Corbyn (Corbyn while appearing and considering himself anti nationalist is an economic nationalist in a lot of ways.)

  8. Hahahaha. Thanks for that HH. I don’t know where to begin…she looks deeply uncomfortable, the hair and make up highlight how much she has aged in the last few years, the facial expression redefines the word ‘gormless’, the colour is far too much for someone so pale…I could go on, but I won’t.

  9. Incidentally I completely agree with BM11 that Truss’ odd mix of social liberalism (coupled with an upmarket, girl about town vibe) and hard right approach to the economy is totally out of step with the country at the moment.

  10. Yep, the demographic she’s aiming for doesn’t like the Tories any more and that wouldn’t change if Truss were leader. She’d have been a much better fit for a smart London seat than in the deepest yokel land of SW Norfolk.

    Incidentally the twitter mob have been photoshopping Truss’s odd power stance picture into her crouching over the toilet…very funny but a disturbing mental image as well.

    Back in the 1980s they always used to say that the sign of a real leader – HM Queen, Thatcher – was that you couldn’t imagine them on the toilet. Kinnock lamentably failed that test and Truss now has as well.

  11. I mean, yes Liz Truss is quite loopy, but she’s probably advancing the most radical house-building agenda of any British politician at the moment, and there’s a little piece of me willing her to succeed in that ambition.

    But the weird ash-blonde Thatcher haircut gets a no from me.

  12. The comments below the line in the Mail are absolutely scathing on this, as one might expect. The words ‘deluded’ and ‘entitled’ pop up with regularity.

  13. She’s pissing off the right people then.

    Liz Truss is quickly becoming my problematic fave…

  14. Well, of course you and I enjoy Daily Mail readers being pissed off. I’d suggest it’s rather more problematic for a Tory leadership contender.

  15. ‘Yep, the demographic she’s aiming for doesn’t like the Tories any more and that wouldn’t change if Truss were leader.’

    Really?

    Don’t the Tories still have the tax-cutting, free market fundamentalist Thatcherite types still on board – that seems to be the basis of her pitch

    I think Truss biggest problem – and it’s a problem that has caused considerable detriment to politicians with considerable more talent than Truss – is that she comes across as dislikeable, and dislikeable politicians seldom do well – although there are of course exceptions

  16. “Don’t the Tories still have the tax-cutting, free market fundamentalist Thatcherite types still on board”

    At least the younger ones – increasingly not.

    “dislikeable politicians seldom do well”

    Dislikeable but highly competent politicians (eg Thatcher) often do well. The problem for Truss is that she is dislikeable and incompetent. Ditto Williamson and too many other current politicians to list.

  17. Was Thatcher seen as dislikeable? I thought a lot of people liked her personality not just her competence and policies.

  18. I think even Mrs Thatcher’s staunchest supporters would admit that she could come across as hard, harsh and uncaring…not exactly the traits of a likeable person. She also had little to no sense of humour or personal warmth. She was admired by many of course (from a safe distance). Virtually all historians rate her as either the best or second best PM since 1945.

  19. ‘Was Thatcher seen as dislikeable?’

    Initially yes – although for most, her competence made up for it

    May is similar – just without the competence

    There’s quite a few in the current cabinet who are both dislikeable and incompetent – the two biggest sins in politics

  20. BM11

    The late great Brian Walden gave a half hour lecture on just how blisteringly disliked Thatcher was at the time. It is on YouTube and you should watch it. After the Falklands War up until the poll tax she was also strongly admired as a great leader, but the majority still said that they did not personally like her. When she lost her great leader reputation around 1989 it was the beginning of the end.

  21. Interesting. I will watch that sometime soon. My parents personally liked Thatcher as a person so I am a bit clouded by their recollections.

  22. Tristan – true re Maggie’s lack of a GSOH, but untrue re a lack of personal warmth.

    Indeed there are countless tales of MPs relaying anecdotes of just that, as well as all the staff crying when she left and relatives of soldiers killed who received handwritten letters the next day. [Whereas there were complaints on both counts about both Blair & Brown, although Cherie appears to be the one who annoyed staff at Number 10 more]

    I think a mistake many make is to assume that politicians they don’t like – due to their politics – are nasty personally. Whereas Ian Paisley & David Trimble were both jocular and friendly on a one to one and took time to chat to anyone from the cleaner to Presidents. Whereas Paddy Ashdown was not. Indeed all Liberal leaders barring Charlie Kennedy appear to have been aggressive and strident with staff etc.

    Truss’s problem is that she was a LibDem and going for selections for years, until she suddenly was a Tory applying for seats. Simply a member of the Politicians’ Party.

  23. If she is a member of the Politician’s Party, why is she not now following the path of least resistance rather than trying to get an unpopular libertarian platform on the agenda? It’s pretty clear she’s swimming against the tide within both her own party and British politics more generally.

  24. Now that she has a safe seat (the aim of defecting presumably) she can say whatever she likes.

    I haven’t met her, but have interviewed MPs from all Parties and it’s difficult to gauge whether some of them believe in anything (except promoting themselves). That was certainly the case with Grayling and Esther, quite apart from how they rub the public up the wrong way in person [I’ve seen both argue with members of the public, much to the annoyance of the PPC they had gone to ‘support’ at a GE].

  25. “Tristan – true re Maggie’s lack of a GSOH, but untrue re a lack of personal warmth.

    Indeed there are countless tales of MPs relaying anecdotes of just that, as well as all the staff crying when she left and relatives of soldiers killed who received handwritten letters the next day.”

    Yes this is 100% true.

    Maggie wrote to every defeated candidate no matter how obscure. When I went into Jacqui Lait’s flat the pride of place on the mantelpiece was a personal letter from Maggie commiserating with her having come a miserable 3rd in a Newcastle by-election.

    The aristocrats did find this fastidiousness a bit patronising though.

  26. Cameron was also pretty good at writing thoughtful notes – despite his image as a bit sneering.

    You won’t be surprised to learn that May is reputedly awful at this side of the job.

  27. “Truss’s problem is that she was a LibDem and going for selections for years, until she suddenly was a Tory applying for seats. Simply a member of the Politicians’ Party.”

    She took full advantage of Cameron’s desperation to get any bit of attractive young female totty onto the A-list for the 2010 election. In fairness she was a councillor in Greenwich for a while and I’d have respected her a lot more if she’d stayed there and fought Eltham or Erith rather than immediately upping sticks to Norfolk.

  28. ‘My parents personally liked Thatcher as a person so I am a bit clouded by their recollections.’

    My father met Thatcher at a 1980’s Tory conference in Brighton. He said she came across as friendly and warm, if a little odd.

    He said much the same about Howard too when he was leader of the opposition.

    You think you would have to be pretty good with people – or at least the right people – to land such a job in the first place, which is why it’s odd that the likes of Truss and Esther Mcvey are running for the leadership.

    It’s even odder that “plenty of their colleagues” as they both claim, are urging them to do so

  29. “My father met Thatcher at a 1980’s Tory conference in Brighton. He said she came across as friendly and warm, if a little odd.”

    Hopefully not the one that was blown up.

    Actually your “friendly and warm but a bit odd” is also a pretty good description of what IDS is like one to one. Though I would keep him off the subjects of Brexit and benefits.

  30. ‘Hopefully not the one that was blown up.’

    It was several years later – in 87 or 88

    I think the ‘friendly and warm but a bit odd’ is a pretty good description for many Tory MPs, certainly of that generation

    It certainly fitted in with the Brighton MP at the time – Julian Amery

    Interesting to hear Lancs Observations about Paddy Ashdown, as he always came across well in front of the camera. I remember I did some brief campaigning with the local Lib Dems in the run to the 1992 election in the Conwy seat. They had actually spent a day campaigning with Ashdown, who paid them a visit, and no one had a good word to say about him, which surprised me at the time.

  31. The LDs were very unlucky not to win Conwy that year. Only just realised the Welsh Lord and Rev was the unlucky PPC at least twice there.

    I hadn’t considered it before, but in fact all the seats Paddy visited in the region that year (Liverpool Broadgreen twice and Southport in particular) they failed to win or lost, with the exception of Rochdale, which I think Liz Lynne won.

    I recall (now Labour MP) Rosie Cooper saying Paddy visit didn’t help her campaign in Broadgreen in 1992 and he’d already fallen out with (then neighbouring MP) David Alton, so the day was quite tetchy, in what was already a difficult campaign fighting Militant.

  32. IIRC pretty much all of the Lib Dem gains in 1992 were in the south west of England, Paddy’s home region where he was quite popular (I’m including Cheltenham and Bath as south west).

    As you say, they lost seats in the north of England and in Scotland and Wales.

  33. ‘The LDs were very unlucky not to win Conwy that year.’

    Very unlucky

    They had a very strong local candidate – the Rev Roger – and in 92 were less than 900 votes behind the Tory victor, in what should have been (and is now) a Conservative v Labour marginal seat

    As commented, the Lib Dems had a strong election campaign after starting the campaign as a ^&% in the polls, but ended up going backwards in every region save the South west – where they picked up 4 seats and laid the groundwork for their much more impressive results in 1997

  34. Just before the election, Ashdown was revealed to have had an affair with his secretary (the famous Paddy Pantsdown headline in The Sun).

    That might have made the difference in small-c conservative seats like Conwy, Ceredigion and Brecon & Radnor.

  35. ‘Just before the election, Ashdown was revealed to have had an affair with his secretary’

    And his vote went up nationally because he admitted it rather than taking the Tory or Labour line of lying through their teeth and denying it

  36. “and his vote went up nationally…”

    That’s untrue though.

    It fell 5% to below 18%. Only the Labour share rose.

    [Also, I assume you mean admitted it after the expose, as Paddy Pantsdown was one of the memorable front page headlines]

  37. No, the Lib Dems went up in the polls, albeit by a mere couple of % pts, after Ashdown admitted to having had the affair as it was during the 92 general election campaign

    The Lib Dems went down to 18% nationally in the election

  38. Liz Truss has decided not to run for leader and will instead back a 2016 Brexit supporter.

  39. Liz Truss has endorsed Boris – seen as a snub to Raab who is probably closer to her on Economics.
    Outside chance to be Boris’s chancellor?

  40. Actually BM11 you might be on to something re: Truss becoming Chancellor. I can’t think of any other reason she would be so desperate to do his bidding (she totally embarrassed herself in interviews today defending his record). That said, Johnson is a cynical user so she could be just convenient cannon fodder.

  41. There was a tweet saying Mp’s have heard of three different people who have been offered defense Secretary by Boris – I suspect one is Gavin Willamson

  42. Gavin Williamson is a total fool if he believes this. I suspect if Boris wins, he will tell Gavin to go away and shut up.

  43. Not sure. Gavin is popular on the backbenchers so you never want him angry. He is one who sometimes flips his views.

  44. Gavin is a popular backbencher… Ahahaha

  45. HH – Many more examples of thoughtful Maggie in BBC2’s docu from her driver to personal secretary. Well worth watching.

  46. Pritti Patel another one with chancellor ambitions with how she is going out to bat for Boris.

  47. Liz Truss has been appointed International Trade Secretary.

  48. Department of International trade set to be scrapped so where is Truss going to go.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)