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Aspiring MP claims region is ready for no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:19 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 17 August 2019

Duncan Baker, north Norfolk district councillor and the Conservative group leader  Picture: Stuart Anderson

Duncan Baker, north Norfolk district councillor and the Conservative group leader Picture: Stuart Anderson

Archant

A Conservative gearing up for a general election claims he would have backed May's Brexit plan, but that the region could handle leaving the EU without a deal in place.

Duncan Baker, who said a national poll could be "less than 90 days" away, wants to take over from Sir Norman Lamb as the MP for North Norfolk. But the 40-year-old from Aylmerton said that unlike the Liberal Democrat, he "believed in Brexit" and disagreed with predictions leaving without a deal would be a catastrophe.

Mr Baker said people in the region had told him: "'We understand there's going to be some bumps in the road, and that might last for a year or 18 months, but we're prepared for that.'

"There will be some industries that are affected more than others - farming for instance - and that's where the civil service will put all their energies to making sure they can go through as smooth a transition as possible.

"I would have voted for the withdrawal agreement, started the process and tried to iron out the flaws as we went through."

North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Sir Norman Lamb said he would announce in the next few weeks whether he would run in an upcoming general election. Photo: UK ParliamentNorth Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Sir Norman Lamb said he would announce in the next few weeks whether he would run in an upcoming general election. Photo: UK Parliament

North Norfolk could be pivotal in an upcoming election which would see the Tories throwing the kitchen sink at any opposition-held seat they see as winnable.

Sir Norman said he would decide "in the next few week" whether to run again.

The Lib Dems polled seven points ahead in the 2017 election, and punished the Tories at the North Norfolk District Council poll in May, winning 15 Conservative-held seats and putting them in firm control with 30 of a total 40 seats.

Mr Baker, who is also a district councillor, said while the council election was decided on local issues, Brexit also came up regularly on the doorstep.

He said he was disappointed to see the Lib Dems bin projects started under the Tories, including the Egmere Business Zone, a bid to turn North Walsham's former town council building into a Wetherspoon, most likely, a planned tennis hub in Cromer.

Mr Baker said: "We have a duty of care to deliver infrastructure for people.

"The [tennis hub] was going to be something to be proud of for generations to come."

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Mr Baker, who is married with two daughters, said his other priorities in a general election campaign would be tackling crime and boosting business and the NHS.

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