West Norfolk candidates ready for December general election fight
With the date now finally set for a third general election in less than five years, politicians in West Norfolk say they are ready to hit the campaign trail.
Voters are set to go to the polls on Thursday, December 12 in what will be the first December general election since 1923.
The current South West Norfolk MP, Conservative international trade secretary Liz Truss, is set to launch her campaign for re-election later today.
But her Brexit Party opponent, Ruth Jolley, says the poll is long overdue.
She said: “The current bunch of MPs are not able to govern with any effectiveness.
“The dither and incompetence that we have seen has made the House of Commons an international laughing stock.
“I welcome this opportunity for the people to judge their MPs, using their vote. We need MPs who will respect democracy and deliver Brexit properly.”
But, with some analysts already seeing the poll as a kind of alternative second EU referendum, pro-Europe candidates say it is their best chance of reversing the 2016 poll result.
Rob Colwell, the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for North West Norfolk, said: “This election will decide the future of our country for generations. It is our best chance to elect a Government to stop Brexit.
“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and will be standing on a manifesto to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50.
“This area of the county that I’m proud to call my home deserves better, and I am excited to take our positive, pro-European, liberal vision forward as the Liberal Democrat candidate for North West Norfolk.”
The current North West Norfolk MP, Conservative Sir Henry Bellingham, yesterday said he felt a contest had become “inevitable” because of the Parliamentary stalemate over Brexit.
He said: “The overwhelming majority of people I speak to just want to get Brexit over the line.
“But this can only happen if Boris Johnson secures a working majority.
“If he can secure this, then all of the uncertainty can be lifted.”
However, before the general election campaign begins in earnest, Sir Henry faces a different electorate on Monday when MPs choose the next Speaker of the House of Commons following the retirement of John Bercow after 10 years in the job this week.
The main parties do not traditionally oppose the speaker at election time.
Sir Henry is one of eight candidates contesting the role, although he is not expected to win.
And his chances took a blow yesterday after he was criticised in a Parliamentary standards report.
Meanwhile, both Labour and the Green Party have confirmed who will be representing them over the coming weeks.
Springwood borough councillor Jo Rust has been chosen as Labour’s prospective candidate in North West Norfolk for a third successive time.
Mrs Rust contested the constituency at both the 2015 and 2017 general elections, finishing second on both occasions.
She said: “Voters are crying out for a change, and with me as their MP, they’ll have it.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to talk to people in the run up to Christmas about all the policies a Labour government would offer them.”
Elsewhere, another recently elected councillor, Michael de Whalley, will contest North West Norfolk for the Green Party, with Dr Pallavi Devulapalli being chosen to fight the South West Norfolk seat.
Mr de Whalley said that, while his party supports the idea of another referendum on Europe, he is worried that a number of other issues, including climate change, are not getting the priority they deserve.
He said: “Brexit has submerged Parliament for three years. We have to move to a sustainable, resource efficient economy.”