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General election 2024: Liz Truss insists she is ‘not complacent’ ahead of South West Norfolk vote

A lot has happened since Liz Truss was last elected the MP for South West Norfolk.

First, she served in various positions in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, including as International Trade Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

She then called for sanctions as Russia invaded Ukraine, and announced the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

Liz Truss says a Labour government would be ‘a disaster’ for the UK
Liz Truss says a Labour government would be ‘a disaster’ for the UK

When Johnson resigned in 2022, Ms Truss fought a battle with Rishi Sunak to become the next Prime Minister - and won.

A turbulent few weeks followed, with Queen Elizabeth II passing away shortly after appointing Ms Truss.

The MP then resigned from her Downing Street role just 44 days into her term, becoming the shortest serving Prime Minister in British history.

Since then, she continued to serve as the South West Norfolk MP until Mr Sunak called a general election for July 4.

It has been a hectic four-and-a-half years since Ms Truss was last elected in her constituency - so how does she feel?

“I'm not complacent at all,” she says.

“I'm working very hard to make the case of why people should support me in this election. I'm working across a constituency to make those points on the doorstep.”

Speaking exclusively to the Lynn News, Ms Truss has outlined her reasons as to why she believes residents should still vote for her despite their growing disillusion with the Tory Party.

Since the general election was called, she has been campaigning around the constituency, visiting residents in the likes of Swaffham, Downham, Upwell, Outwell, Marshland St James and Tilney St Lawrence - as well as attending a D-Day event in Pickenham.

She says the reaction from residents has been “pretty positive on the whole”.

Topics of discussion have included Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital rebuild, which Ms Truss says “will be delivered on time”, and a new banking hub coming to Downham later this month, allowing people to cash cheques and take out money, which she helped secure.

“What's probably the top issue on the doorstep has been immigration,” she says.

“People are just very concerned about the level of both legal and illegal immigration, and one of the things I'm saying is I want tougher action to deport illegal immigrants.

“I'm very concerned that the Human Rights Act is being used by lawyers to stop people, even people who have committed criminal offences, to stop those people leaving the country. So that's probably the big issue on the doorstep.”

Among the other South West Norfolk candidates the Lynn News has spoken to so far, the message has been a simple one - residents want a change.

They argue that Ms Truss does not direct enough of her focus on local issues, and has become disconnected with the real concerns of residents.

But what does she think about these claims?

“Well, first of all, I point to my record,” she says.

She says this dates back to her helping secure the future of RAF Marham, which she describes as “a massive asset to our constituency”.

“I've secured the future of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, securing the money for that new funding along with James Wild, the candidate for North West Norfolk,” Ms Truss adds.

“One of the biggest issues in my post bag has been from residents concerned that the last bank in Downham was closing. We now have the hub which is open to people. So that's what I am running on.

“But if you look at the national picture, I believe that Keir Starmer would push this country backwards. You know he doesn't have the ideas that are needed to solve Britain's problems.

“I've talked to you about big issues like the NHS or immigration or the economy. I don't believe he has the answers to solve those problems.”

Ms Truss admits that over the last 14 years, there are areas in which the Conservative government “could have done more”.

She is “very concerned about how high people’s bills are”, and believes policies involving net zero targets should be tailored to take into account the cost on the taxpayer.

“Voting Labour, I think, would be a complete disaster and that is the situation here in West Norfolk,” she adds.

Ms Truss is up against eight fellow nominees at the general election.

They include Independent James Bagge, Labour’s Terry Jermy, Lorraine Douglas of the Communist Party of Britain, Josie Ratcliffe from the Liberal Democrats, and Pallavi Devulapalli of the Greens.

The Heritage Party’s Gary Conway, Earl Elvis Of East Anglia from the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and Tobias McKenzie from Reform UK make up the list.

“The issue with supporting Reform in South West Norfolk is that it would increase the likelihood of getting a Labour government - that is the reality of the situation,” Ms Truss says.

“I'm a Conservative MP who's prepared to fight for traditional conservative values. Just recently I've had my private members bill in front of the House of Commons, which is all about protecting the concept of biological sex - making it clear that men are men and women are women, and that it's wrong to allow men identifying as women to compete in women's sports or to use girls’ loos or changing rooms.

“These are the values that I fight on, and if people want an MP who supports those traditional conservative values, they should vote for me.”

Ms Truss says that boosting South West Norfolk’s market towns is also among her key priorities, and points to historic buildings in Swaffham such as the historic Assembly Rooms being restored last year under her watch.

She also highlights the role she played in ensuring that postal services stayed in the town, rather than being moved to Lynn and forcing residents to travel to use them.

Over the next few weeks, she plans to visit as many villages in the area as possible - and knock on as many doors as she can.

“I'm doing a few visits to businesses and so on, but mainly it's getting out and about - because I think the only way you can actually hear what people think and have to say is by speaking directly to them,” she adds.

“My message is, if you want a local MP who is going to fight for you on things like getting the hospital, keeping our market towns thriving, standing up for local farmers, standing up for local businesses, I've got a track record of doing that - and I want to carry on working.

“But also, if you support traditional conservative values, please vote for me.”

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