ELECTION 2017: Conservatives hold North West Norfolk seat

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Conservative Sir Henry Bellingham has been re-elected as MP for North West Norfolk tonight.

Sir Henry, who was first elected in 1983, won with a majority of just under 14,000 from Labour’s Jo Rust.

He said he was “humbled” by his share of the vote and would do his best not to let people down during the parliamentary term to come.

He added: “I’m passionate about Norfolk and I’m even more passionate about West Norfolk. We have an incredibly special place here. We have a thriving economy. We have a very successful NHS and successful schools.

I want to use my mandate to secure even more inward investment into this area. I want to use my mandate to help improve the infrastructure even more and work with those people in the caring services and the emergency services to make sure their views are heard and that improvements can be delivered to those absolutely key services.”

Mrs Rust paid tribute to her campaign team for their work to increase her party’s share of the vote.

She speculated that another election may take place in the near future and added: “I will still be here and will hold Henry to account.

“I look forward to being there and making sure you do keep your word.”

UKIP’s Michael Stone was third, ahead of Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt and the Green Party’s Michael de Whalley.

Mr Stone said: “We will be carrying on. We will be here at the next election, however soon it is.”

Mr Moss-Eccardt was absent from the count, with party officials saying he was working with their candidate in Cambridge.

But West Norfolk party chairman Simon Wilson said: “We’re pleased to have improved our position. It’s been a very difficult election. It looks like a return to the two-party system.”

He added that they were “delighted” by Norman Lamb’s victory in North Norfolk.

Mr de Whalley said his vote, like UKIP and the Liberal Democrats, had been squeezed by the increase in support for the Conservatives and Labour.

He said: “It’s not unexpected. It’s the nature of this particular election.”

Turnout was slightly higher than last time at 67.8 per cent, with almost 85 per cent of postal voters taking part.

Conservative George Freeman held Mid-Norfolk, while Keith Simpson was returned in Broadland and John Hayes retained South Holland and the Deepings.

There was also increased security around the counting hall at Lynnsport, following the recent terror attacks on Manchester and London.

Full North West Norfolk results are as follows: Henry Bellingham (Conservative) 29,408 votes; Jo Rust (Labour) 15,620; Michael Stone (UKIP) 1,539; Rupert Moss-Eccardt (Liberal Democrat) 1,393; Michael de Whalley (Green) 851.