'Truly sorry' - Former rival pays damages to Norfolk MP

Karen Ward and Duncan Baker have both stood down as councillors on North Norfolk District Council.

Karen Ward and Duncan Baker. - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has received a pay-out and an apology from a former rival who falsely accused him of triggering a police probe into her.

Karen Ward, who stood for the Liberal Democrats when Conservative Mr Baker took the seat in December 2019, has written a letter, in which she said she was "truly sorry".

She has also paid him a "a sum in lieu of damages", which he said he had donated to local charities.

It follows a police investigation into the awarding of a contract by North Norfolk District Council to Peter Thomas Ltd - a contact of Ms Ward - to carry out a 'capability review' into the way the council was run, without a tendering process being followed.

Karen Ward, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk. Photo: North Norfolk Liberal Democrats

Karen Ward, former North Norfolk district councillor and Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk at the 2009 General Election.  - Credit: Archant

However, a council probe found there had been no wrongdoing and a later police investigation determined there had been "no criminality" in the way the contract had been awarded.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Duncan Baker after winning the North Norfolk parliamentary seat in 2019. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Ms Ward was also district councillor for coastal ward - which covers villages including Stiffkey, Blakeney, Cley and Weybourne - until March this year, but stood down to focus on her recovery from long Covid

The apology follows a letter Ms Ward sent to coastal ward residents on March 25.

The apology reads: "Along with a number of other false allegations, I alleged Mr Baker initiated a police investigation into me and wasted police time. This was all untrue. 

"I am truly sorry for my actions and any harm and distress this has caused Mr Baker. I also apologise to him on behalf of the Liberal Democrats."

Londoners are choosing to move to Norfolk for views like this; the famous windmill ay Cley-next-the-

North Norfolk District Council's coastal wards includes such villages as Cley-next-the-Sea.  - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Mr Baker circulated the apology to coastal ward residents along with his own statement on the issue, in which he said he was donating the undisclosed sum paid in compensation to charity.

Mr Baker said: "This was an unfortunate episode and I am pleased that it has been resolved.

"I am delighted some good has come out of the issue and I have been able to donate the money I received to the Holt Youth Project and Glaven Caring - two excellent local charities in our community which are close to me."

Ms Ward has also been contacted for further comment.