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Norwich leader's challenge to MPs

PUBLISHED: 07:32 11 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 July 2010

Steve Morphew

Steve Morphew

Sarah Hall

The leader of Norwich City Council has thrown down the gauntlet to the city's newly elected MPs - urging that they give a "very early" indication of how they plan to help lead Norwich out of the recession.

The leader of Norwich City Council has thrown down the gauntlet to the city's newly elected MPs - urging that they give a “very early” indication of how they plan to help lead Norwich out of the recession.

Conservative Chloe Smith comfortably held her seat in Norwich North, while Liberal Democrat Simon Wright dislodged Labour's Charles Clarke after 13 years in Norwich South.

But Steve Morphew, who leads the minority Labour administration at City Hall, said, despite their political differences, it was vital that the city's MPs united to fight for Norwich's interests.

He said: “Now the election is over the task of creating jobs, homes and prosperity for Norwich resumes in earnest. The political landscape may have changed but the issues for Norwich haven't.

“The city is in good shape to lead the way out of the recession but we need some critical commitments to invest and a clear timescale for when those works will start.

“If the new government is going to spend anywhere it should include Norwich as we are a solid bet for real returns at a time when our economy needs all the friends it can get.

“Their feet might not yet have made it under the table but our new MPs need to be out there batting for the city now.

“You can be sure MPs from other parts of the county will already be forming a queue and despite the strength of the Norwich case we may get drowned out in the clamour unless our MPs start getting stuck in.”

Mr Morphew said vital investments for Norwich included completing the dualling of the A11, rail improvements, the Northern Distributor Road and the UK City of Culture bid.

Chloe Smith said: “Steve makes some very intelligent and mature points and he is absolutely right that we, as the MPs for Norwich, will be out there batting for the city and will be calling for things which will help us to continue to grow at this difficult time.

“He knows as well that I have been vocal throughout my time as Norwich North MP on the need for transport improvements including the dualling of the A11, the railways and the NDR and have used my position to lobby for them.

“He will also know that the day after the City of Culture shortlist was announced I wrote to him to congratulate him. I strongly support that and am personally very excited about it.”

Simon Wright said: “Clearly, I am very keen to work with representatives at every level and from all political persuasions. I know there are issues which Steve, Chloe and myself can all work together on for Norwich's benefit, so I welcome his contact.”

What do you think should be a priority of Norwich's newly-elected MPs? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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