Lamb "couldn't quite believe it" after strengthening grip on North Norfolk
Victoria LeggettNorman Lamb said he 'couldn't quite believe it' after stretching the Liberal Democrats' already comfortable majority in North Norfolk.The Conservatives failed to make any in roads in the seat, which had been a Tory stronghold before the Lib Dem candidate wrestled it from them with a wafer-thin 483-vote majority in 2001.Victoria Leggett
Norman Lamb said he 'couldn't quite believe it' after stretching the Liberal Democrats' already comfortable majority in North Norfolk.
The Conservatives failed to make any in roads in the seat, which had been a Tory stronghold before the Lib Dem candidate wrestled it from them with a wafer-thin 483-vote majority in 2001.
This morning, Mr Lamb increased his share of the vote by 2.3pc and managed to add 1,020 votes on to his already impressive majority - despite the electorate shrinking by about 13,000 because of boundary changes.
He now sits 11,626 votes ahead of the Conservatives, who were represented by Trevor Ivory, up from 10,605 in 2005.
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Following the announcement Mr Lamb said: 'Amazing. I can't quite believe it. It's one thing to look at the figures from our canvassing and the door-knocking from the campaign and think, if it's applied to the results, this is what will happen. It's another thing to see the result - for people to have actually voted.'
The Lib Dem health spokesman said it was a 'great honour and privilege' to represent the constituency - which covers a sprawling area of Norfolk, taking in towns including North Walsham, Sheringham, Holt and Wells.
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Mr Ivory said he was disappointed not to have won but added: 'It's a very strange election across the country with the Lib Dems proving to be tough opponents wherever we are fighting them.'
He said the result, which saw Labour's share of the vote drop from 9.2pc in 2005 to 5.8pc, showed the country was 'voting for change'.
Despite insisting throughout the campaign that he was in it to win it, Phil Harris, the Labour candidate, admitted third place was the 'best we could have hoped for' - and confessed he feared he would be knocked into fourth place by UKIP.
That party's candidate, Mike Baker, was feeling good about himself after increasing their votes from just 978 in 2005 to 2,680.
During the count he lowered his expectations from second place to third, but had to settle for fourth in the end. 'I saved my deposit,' he said.
The Greens did not fair as well with just 508 votes from their first attempt in North Norfolk but candidate Andrew Boswell remained pleased that at least some people in the constituency had been given the chance to vote for a 'progressive party'.
Independent candidate Simon Mann left before the count was announced. He received 95 votes.