One of Norfolk's surviving Conservative MPs has urged his party not to rush into appointing a new leader - but ruled himself out of the reckoning.

After Friday morning's dramatic election results, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman is now the county's longest-serving parliamentary representative.

Following Labour's landslide victory, former prime minister Rishi Sunak said he would resign as Conservative Party leader.

Rishi SunakRishi Sunak

He said he would step down "not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place".

And Mr Freeman, first elected in 2010, said his party should not be hasty and delay a leadership battle until after Conservative conference in October.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Freeman, who saw his majority slashed from 22,594 to 3,054, said: "This is the time to take stock. We are going to be pretty irrelevant for the next six to nine months.

"Within 18 months, this government is going will be starting to hit some of the very difficult challenges which have knocked us sideways and there will be a real need for an opposition which starts to look like an alternative government.

"But I think it's really important that we do not rush into a leadership contest. We need an honest, six month appraisal of all the different voting groups we lost and not what Boris Johnson did wrong or what Liz Truss did wrong."

READ MORE: Norfolk and Waveney General Election 2024 - Full result list

In what seemed to be a swipe at his former Norfolk colleague Ms Truss, who lost her South West Norfolk seat, he also called for the Tories to change its constitution so MPs, not the party membership, ultimately pick the leader.

The former science minister said: "We should change the constitution. The public will only take us seriously when they can see that we have taken their objections seriously."

Mr Freeman said the membership should pick three or four applicants to present to the parliamentary group.

He said: "I think part of the party's problem in being ungovernable, because the membership have been choosing people who the MPs know are not fit for the job. That has to be resolved."

Liz TrussLiz Truss

Ms Truss became prime minister after the party membership voted for her ahead of Mr Sunak.

Mr Freeman, when asked if he would consider a tilt at the Tory leadership, said "no".



Sir Brandon LewisSir Brandon Lewis

It would be a "profound mistake" to cut the Conservative membership out of the party's leadership race, according to former Great Yarmouth MP Sir Brandon Lewis.

Sir Brandon, who saw his former seat fall to Reform UK's Rupert Lowe, also said the party should be cautious about lurching to the right or the left.

Writing for website Conservative Home, Sir Brandon said: "There has been some speculation that members could be stripped of their voice in the election of a new party leader now that Rishi Sunak has announced he will step down.

"Some former colleagues have even suggested that to cut members out of the process, or radically reduce their influence, is the only ‘sensible’ way forward.

"I believe that would be a profound mistake – and speaks to a hubris, indeed an arrogance, which plagued this election campaign and which we cannot afford to continue.

"I would call on the party to make sure members’ voices are heard loud and clear in this next leadership election.

"To turn our backs on them after everything we have asked in recent times would be a historic mistake."

Sir Brandon said, while much focus has been on Reform UK's success, the Tories should also learn from the Liberal Democrat surge.

He said: "It is not about shifting too far to the left or the right: it is about trust.

"Many promises were made that were not kept. To ignore that fact is to oversimplify the challenge."