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SATURDAY ESSAY: Why a Norfolk MP as PM would be great for the county

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Long-serving former North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham argues why having Liz Truss as the next prime minister would be good news for the county.

Just over 300 years ago in 1721, a prominent Norfolk MP, Sir Robert Walpole, became Britain’s very first Prime Minister.

It has been a long wait, but it now looks most likely that after all these years, we could be about to see Liz Truss become our second PM.

Robert Walpole, Britain's first prime minister and owner of Houghton Hall, North Norfolk. - Credit: ©National Portrait Gallery

Incidentally, the only other Norfolk MP who came close to securing the Premiership was one of Liz’s predecessors, the inimitable Baroness Shephard. Indeed, after the Blair landslide in 1997, many of us thought that she was the ideal person to steady the ship, and then possibly to go on to become a great PM. Alas, it was not to be.

Over the past few weeks I have seen some comments in our local media casting doubt on whether it really would be good news for Norfolk if Ms Truss wins on September 5th. Someone even said that, were she to be successful, she would hardly ever be seen in SW Norfolk.

I can firmly say straight away that if Ms Truss is fortunate enough to make it to No 10, she will keep her home in the constituency, and follow the tradition of recent PM’s by continuing to work hard for all of her constituents.

On the point about whether having a local MP in No. 10 would be good for Norfolk and the wider region, I believe that there is only one answer here, and that is 100% in the affirmative.

Baroness Gillian Shephard. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Are some people really trying to suggest that when the ‘Norfolk 9 MP’s go into lobby ministers on the A47 dualling campaign, or for enhanced police and local council funding, it is not going to be a big plus to have in their number the current PM?

Of course, her current opponent Rishi Sunak would also undoubtedly do his level best........

© Eastern Daily Press

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