Freeman storms to victory in Mid Norfolk
Ian ClarkeThe Conservatives have comfortably held onto Mid Norfolk, with a majority of 13,856.George Freeman got 25,123 votes, with Liberal Democrat candidate David Newman in second with 11,267 votes.Ian Clarke
George Freeman said he was 'incredibly proud' after being elected the new Mid Norfolk MP - and 'over-awed' at getting a 13,856 majority.
The 42-year-old father-of-two stormed to victory early today and polled close to half of the votes cast.
As the Labour vote collapsed in the new-look seat and candidate Elizabeth Hughes was relegated to third place, Liberal Democrat David Newman came second.
Clutching a House of Commons envelope with information for new MPs, Mr Freeman said he would be celebrating 'with a quiet drink in Dereham and a long night's sleep.'
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As soon as his large piles of votes started building up during the verification there was no doubt he would win - but the size of the majority took even Mr Freeman by surprise.
Keith Simpson had won the Mid Norfolk seat - under previous boundaries - three times with majorities rising from 1336 to 7560.
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Mr Freeman said he was 'humbled' by the support of local people and added: 'It is a huge vote of confidence in me and it has not sunk in yet.'
Green candidate Tim Birt told Mr Freeman: 'It's a staggeringly good figure to get.'
Mr Freeman was selected as prospective candidate at the end of 2006 and has worked hard to get his name known in the new-look constituency - including embarking on a cycle ride around the 110-mile boundary.
He started the Norfolk Way campaign and said he would go to Westminster to fight on a range of issues for the local area including housing, development and infrastructure.
'This county has a wonderful future with some investment in it. We have become a rural backwater and a housing development and we deserve better than that.'
Mr Birt and the UKIP's Toby Coke polled disappointingly despite predictions they would both benefit from being local,
The turnout was 68pc and people waited for polling stations to open across the constituency and others had to queue up to cast votes.
The BNP's Christine Kelly came last - and no-one from the party was at the count.
George Freeman (Con) 25,123
David Newman (Lib Dem) 11,267
Elizabeth Hughes (Lab) 8857
Toby Coke (UKIP) 2800
Tim Birt (Green) 1457
Christine Kelly (BNP) 1261