Conservatives tighten grip on Mid Norfolk with huge majority
PUBLISHED: 03:16 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 06:18 13 December 2019
George Freeman has successfully defended his Mid Norfolk seat on what is turning into a miserable election night for the Labour Party.
He will continue as MP in the constituency, a post he has held since being elected in 2010.
Mr Freeman notched 35,051 votes, a majority of 22,594 ahead of Labour's Dr Adrian Heald, who received 12,457 votes.
Steffan Aquarone of the Liberal Democrats received 7,739 votes, while 939 voted for Independent candidate PJ O'Gorman.
A total of 56,521 people in Mid Norfolk went to the polls, making it a 68.76pc turnout - down slightly from 69.6pc in 2017.
Mr Freeman, who was visibly emotional following the declaration, said he felt "humbled" by the convincing result.
"It's an incredible endorsement of the work I've been trying to do here in Mid Norfolk, and a very strong endorsement of the government's commitment to get Brexit done in a way that works for everyone.
"I take the responsibility of representing this constituency very seriously. For me it's a sacred pledge to represent everybody - whether they voted for me or not - and to give a voice to people across Mid Norfolk, whoever they support.
"Sometimes we take democracy for granted in this country. Across the world people dream of being able to vote in an election like this and the quiet dignity of a whole country deciding who it wants to govern is something very remarkable.
"There's a lot wrong with our politics, but also a lot that's right. Tonight is a moment to reflect that our democracy is working and people are listening."
Mr Freeman added: "Economic growth through this period of uncertainty has slowed to 0pc. There's two things businesses have said to us: fear of Corbyn and fear of uncertainty. Tomorrow morning both those things are gone. I think we'll start to see economic growth picking up in the new year, money coming back into the economy and jobs being created again.
"I backed Boris Johnson for leadership because I believe he is genuinely a one-nation, unifying economic patriot, who feels in that referendum campaign that large swathes voted to leave because they felt left behind by a model of economic growth that wasn't working for them. That's going to change and it's overdue in my view. It's a really exciting moment, but a challenging one. The Conservative party has now got to go north and reach out into places where we haven't been traditionally elected and prove we can deliver for those communities that have been left behind."Labour's share of the vote in Mid Norfolk was just 22pc, down from 30pc in 2017. Its candidate, Dr Heald, was absent from the election count due to suffering from the flu.
Mr Aquarone, who was saluted by Mr Freeman during his victory speech, said he was "shocked" by the national picture, but highlighted public perception of Jeremy Corbyn as a contributing factor.
"It's the perfect storm of the two-party system - people have been persuaded to vote for the least-worst option," said Mr Aquarone.
"I would put the Conservatives' victory down to the sheer threat of somebody as dangerous as Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. That appears to have played well for the Conservatives."
The full list of results for Mid Norfolk is as follows:
- Steffan Aquarone (Liberal Democrats): 7,739
- George Freeman (Conservatives): 35,051
- Adrian Heald (Labour): 12,457
- PJ O'Gorman (Independent): 939