5 issues that could swing the vote in South Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 15:45 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 04 December 2019
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One of Norfolk’s safest Conservative seats, with the county’s largest slice of the electorate, South Norfolk has sent a Tory MP to Westminster in every election for almost 70 years.
Elected in 1950, the former MP Peter Baker was the last person to be expelled from the House of Commons in 1954, after his arrest and subsequent jailing for forgery.
His seat was then won in a 1955 by-election by John Hill, who held it for 19 years, and served as one of the UK's first members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
The seat was then taken by Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, an OBE and TV magician, who represented South Norfolk until stepping down in 2001, and in his role as transport secretary was responsible for the privatisation of British Rail.
In 2001, Richard Bacon was elected into the seat, and held it for the next 18 years.
He increased his majority in 2005, and grew it for a third time in 2015 - to twice that of his margin in 2001.
In 2006, Mr Bacon was praised for his questioning of the Home Office over the release of failed asylum seekers - which led to the sacking of then home secretary Charles Clarke, but he faced criticism over the 2007 MPs expenses scandal.
At the 2017 election, Mr Bacon won 58.2pc of the vote in South Norfolk, with 35,580 votes and a majority of 16,678.
5 big issues in South Norfolk:
- Brexit - The outcome of the 2016 referendum was close fought in South Norfolk, with Leave getting just 51.7pc of the vote, and Remain 48.3pc.
The constituency also saw the highest number of votes anywhere in Norfolk for the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party.
But with no Brexit Party candidate in this election, are the Tories likely to hoover back up much of that support?
- Tech - Plans to encourage investment in the Cambridge-Norwich 'tech corridor' and aims to create 15,000 new jobs, 20,000 new homes and spark £900m in private sector funding, are supported by the area's district and county councils and local enterprise partnerships.
Support for the scheme is likely to be a key issue for voters in the area around the A11.
- Transport - Stretching from the edge of Norwich all the way to the county's border with Suffolk, South Norfolk is a constituency of commuters.
The area is home to the market town of Diss and the commuter villages Poringland and Hethersett, where residents will be keen to see improvements to the A140 and A146 which connect the outer edges of the constituency with Norwich and Lowestoft, and the long-awaited Long Stratton bypass become a reality.
- Employment - Plans for two new tomato greenhouses have raised hopes in South Norfolk for more agri-food investment and job creation.
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Business leaders described the £120m project as "a shot in the arm" for the economy, and residents will be hoping to see a boost from investment and growing job opportunities.
- Climate - The vote on December 12 has been described as the first 'climate election' and the issue has been a key one in South Norfolk. Mr Bacon previously opposed plans for wind farms, saying climate change was not a good enough reason to approve rural developments.
Who is standing in South Norfolk?
Richard Bacon (Conservative Party)
Chistopher Brown (Liberal Democrats)
Beth Jones (Labour Party)
Ben Price (Green Party)
And what happened in 2017?
Richard Bacon (Cons) -35,580, held seat for the Tories
Danielle Glavin (Lab) - 18,902
Christopher Brown (Lib Dem) - 5,074
Catherine Rowett (Green) - 1,555
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