You have to look all the way back to the Thatcher years to find a Conservative MP who held Norwich South.

Since John Powley's defeat in 1987, the seat has had three Labour representatives - including current MP Clive Lewis - and one Liberal Democrat. 

David Thomas is hoping to defy the odds and end that drought.

Norwich Evening News: John Powley (right) with Margaret ThatcherJohn Powley (right) with Margaret Thatcher (Image: Newsquest)

Asked whether he was concerned people had already written him off, Mr Thomas said: "I'm not a token no-hope candidate.

"It's easy for me to go on the internet and find out what people think the probability of me winning is.

"But I'm excited for the challenge.

"Nobody should feel like they have to vote Labour because there isn't a suitable opposition.

"I want people to know I'm a viable Conservative candidate."

Norwich Evening News: David ThomasDavid Thomas (Image: Norwich Conservatives)

Why the Conservatives?

The Bristol-born 33-year-old started his career as a teacher in Westminster after graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

In January 2018, he became headteacher at Norwich's Jane Austen College, where he worked until joining the Department of Education as a government advisor in 2021.

"I went into teaching because I wanted to help close the gap in education between Norwich and where I was in London," he said.

Norwich Evening News: Jane Austen CollegeJane Austen College (Image: Archant)

"When I say that, I'm often asked why I'm not a member of the Labour Party.

"I do believe their hearts are in the right place, but I don't agree with the way they go about it.

"For example, the Welsh Labour Party scrapped triple-award GCSE science.

"I think all children should study this because it creates more opportunities and will help our economy in the long run.

"It's about increasing social mobility."

Those Clive Lewis comments:

Speaking on the news of Mr Thomas' selection earlier this month, Clive Lewis told this newspaper that he did not "fancy his chances" standing for a Conservative Party "cynically filching from the playbook of Trump".

"I don't want to get into tit-for-tat politics," Mr Thomas responded.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich South MP Clive LewisNorwich South MP Clive Lewis (Image: House of Commons)

"Clive can say what he wants but people want us to focus on the big issues.

"I'm happy with the progress the government is making."

Does Norwich need more housing?

The Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) has allocated 50,000 new homes for the Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland council areas by 2038.

"We do need to build more houses," said Mr Thomas. 

Norwich Evening News: An aerial view of NorwichAn aerial view of Norwich (Image: Mike Page)

"We need to give children the option of staying here, buying a home and raising a family. 

"That comes from building more housing - whether that is affordable, social or standard. 

"There are so many brownfield sites that could be used."

But can local services cope?

"We do need to invest in improving our infrastructure," he added.

"Norwich needs to be car-friendly and knee-jerk decisions like closing Exchange Street need to be thought out properly before being implemented.

Norwich Evening News: David Thomas was elected to increase social mobility and grow the Norwich economyDavid Thomas was elected to increase social mobility and grow the Norwich economy (Image: William Warnes)

"Public transport also has to be improved.

"We have a top university in the UEA, a science park, a growing technological sector and a strong cultural scene.

"We need to find a way to retain talent, and that is where building more houses comes in."

Mr Thomas also stressed the need to clear the asylum backlog, arguing a need for a "fair and sensible" solution to the issue of refugees being housed in two Norwich hotels.

Norwich Evening News: The Brook Hotel - one of two city hotels chosen by the Home Office to house refugeesThe Brook Hotel - one of two city hotels chosen by the Home Office to house refugees (Image: Newsquest)

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"Applications are either approved or rejected," he added.

"If approved, then they can contribute positively.

"If rejected, then they should go back to the country they left."

Health care

Norfolk as a whole suffers from a shortage of NHS dentists and GPs - with the region's largest hospital, the N&N, also having some of the worst bed-blocking in the country.

Speaking on this, Mr Thomas said: "The private sector relies a lot less on dentists and makes use of the wider set of professions within dentistry.

"This could work for the NHS and that is why I would support plans for a new dental school at the UEA.

Norwich Evening News: The N&N currently has some of the worst bed-blocking in the countryThe N&N currently has some of the worst bed-blocking in the country (Image: Nick Butcher)

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"In terms of bed blocking, social care is complex and it is not as simple as having more beds or staff.

"But again, this comes down to investing in our infrastructure."

Mr Thomas will stand against Labour's Clive Lewis and the Green Party's Jamie Osborn in the next election. 

The Liberal Democrats are yet to announce their candidate for the seat.

Norwich Evening News: The Green Party's Jamie OsbornThe Green Party's Jamie Osborn (Image: Jamie Osborn)