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James Wild admits Conservative Party has ‘big rebuilding job’ on its hand after his re-election

James Wild is celebrating this morning with a glass of Bucks Fizz and is tossing up some bacon and eggs after being re-elected as North West Norfolk’s MP.

However, he admits the Conservative Party has “a big rebuilding project” on its hands after a damaging election day which saw Labour claim a huge majority.

Mr Wild - who was first elected in the constituency in 2019 - defeated Labour candidate Tim Leaver by just under 5,000 votes.

James Wild has been re-elected as North West Norfolk MP
James Wild has been re-elected as North West Norfolk MP

He will now be serving in a parliament dominated by Labour, with his South West Norfolk Tory counterpart Liz Truss among many Tories to lose their seats this morning.

“I’m pleased that people have put their trust back in me for another four-and-a-half years,” Mr Wild told the Lynn News following a victory which saw him pick up 16,097 votes.

“It’s a huge privilege to represent North West Norfolk. I ran this campaign focusing on my local record and what I have delivered for people in terms of commitments to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and it’s great that people have backed me in this campaign.”

Mr Wild says the hospital project will remain his “number one priority”, while he also wants to ensure £70million worth of regeneration projects in Lynn are seen through.

He plans to create more jobs and boost business in the area, and wants to increase dental training provisions to tackle oral hygiene problems in the area.

On attempting to achieve these goals under a Labour government, he said: “It’s going to be different, of course - but the argument I made for people during the campaign was that I am the right person to stand up for our area, given my record.

“That’s what I am going to do - stand up for them and their priorities in parliament.

James Wild, pictured on stage with fellow candidates, has been re-elected as North West Norfolk MP
James Wild, pictured on stage with fellow candidates, has been re-elected as North West Norfolk MP

“It’s going to be a government with a huge majority, and we need to hold them to account.”

Mr Wild admitted it is “really, really disappointing” to lose so many colleagues in Westminster

He added: “We look at these raw numbers, but behind them there is an MP who has worked very hard over the last four-and-a-half years - and Labour MPs have lost their seats too in some cases tonight.

Labour candidate Tim Leaver finished in second place
Labour candidate Tim Leaver finished in second place

“I think everyone who goes into parliament does it for public service, so I think people should reflect on the contribution they have made.

“There is a human impact here which often gets lost.”

But Mr Wild is not naive. He accepts that many voters have become frustrated or disillusioned with the Tories, and that the party has a lot of work to do if it is to start building back its reputation.

“I think we need to be talking about the issues that people have been particularly concerned about and show that we have got the ideas and the plans to deal with them,” he said.

Michael de Whalley following the North West Norfolk result this morning
Michael de Whalley following the North West Norfolk result this morning

“When I meet up with my colleagues in the next days or so, we will be talking about how we do that as a party.

“We have got a big rebuilding project to do - there’s no disguising this is a very, very disappointing defeat.”

Mr Leaver, meanwhile, told the Lynn News that he is disappointed to have finished as runner-up in the North West Norfolk poll - and insists that the constituency “deserves better than a Tory MP”.

The London-based candidate received 11,143 votes.

“I’m delighted that we increased our vote. I’m delighted that the Tories’ vote halved,” Mr Leaver said.

“What I’m really concerned at is that the Lib Dems seem to be an anti-tactical vote. But I think the concern is Reform - I think they probably did better than most people would think.

“The idea of change was misrepresented by the Lib Dem candidate in what can only be described as an anti-tactical strategy.”’

Rob Colwell, the Lib Dem candidate, was approached for comment at Lynnsport but declined to speak to the Lynn News immediately prior to the result being announced.

Despite this concern, Mr Leaver is “delighted” to see Labour win so many seats across the country - and hopes that a new government will help to tackle issues he has raised in North West Norfolk.

But for him personally, he insists it is too early to say what he has planned next.

“Standing in North West Norfolk has been a great experience. The team here are amazing - let’s see,” he said.

Michael de Whalley, the Green candidate, was pleased to pick up 2,137 votes - and said Mr Wild’s victory was an “interesting result”.

“We’ve improved our vote as Greens. Country-wide that is also reflected,” he said.

“We have to work with James Wild. He has been helpful - hopefully we can improve the working relationship with him.

“It’s a different prospect being in opposition, so we will do what we can to make sure that West Norfolk is represented.”

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