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James Bagge enlists help from ‘the man in the white suit’ as he bids to oust Liz Truss

An MP hopeful appears to have enlisted the support of a former anti-sleaze politician as he bids to oust Liz Truss.

James Bagge, who intends to stand as an independent candidate for South West Norfolk against Ms Truss at the next general election, will be holding a rally at 11am on Saturday at Thetford Rugby Club.

Bagge has now completed three of his ‘constituency walks’, visiting 17 villages in nine days.

James Bagge is looking to challenge Liz Truss in the next general election - and has enlisted the help of ‘the man in the white suit’
James Bagge is looking to challenge Liz Truss in the next general election - and has enlisted the help of ‘the man in the white suit’

A former high sheriff of Norfolk and member of the so-called ‘Turnip Taliban’, he revealed his intention to stand in the election at the start of this year.

Ahead of this weekend, Mr Bagge said: “The message on the doorstep and at meetings is clear and unequivocal. The voters of South West Norfolk want a change.

“They want a representative in Westminster who puts the interests of the constituents ahead of their own personal ambitions and party dictat, one who is broadly aligned with their own political outlook, and one who is determined to make a real difference to their lives at a local level.”

It has been announced that the rally in Thetford will feature a speech by Martin Bell, the veteran independent MP sometimes known as ‘the man in the white suit’ for his stance against parliamentary sleaze.

Mr Bell, currently a British UNICEF ambassador, is also a former broadcast war reporter and served as the MP for Tatton from 1997 to 2001.

Also speaking will be Andy Preston, businessman and charity chair, who was mayor of Middlesbrough between 2019 and 2023.

The line-up will be completed by Jenny Groom, a former mayor of Downham, and Liz Pye of Norfolk Citizens Advice, who will offer a first-hand account of Bagge’s leadership in his capacity as a front-line advisor after he chaired its development committee.

Ms Groom said: “For far too long we have been overlooked, regarded as unimportant – a safe Tory seat, while the games and power play of party politics is played out in other places.

“I have seen the decline of much that we hold dear and now is the time that we have the opportunity for the vast variety of our constituency to be properly represented and recognised.

“With James Bagge you have the ideal candidate. James cares. He has been quietly working behind the scenes for many years, helping to make things happen, supporting those who need help and support.

“He asks questions, he researches, he listens and he responds. He is independent, untrammelled by a party which tells him how to vote.”

Mr Bagge is planning for a sizeable crowd to show up at the free event, where a refreshment bar in the clubhouse will run alongside music provided by a Dixieland jazz band.

The aim, he says, is to demonstrate “overwhelming support for an independent alternative to the current incumbent, by gathering together many who are desperate for a change”.

“I am honoured to have received such a groundswell of genuine support in my endeavour to be that person, and I am determined and will do all I can to fulfil those wishes,” Mr Bagge added.

“Please support me by attending this rally and encouraging others to do so as well.”

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