Boris Johnson backs Evening News manifesto call for mental health to be key election issue
Dr Mike Spencer
The Norwich Evening News' call for mental health to be a key issue in the general election has won support from prime minister Boris Johnson - after one of his party's Norfolk candidates highlighted this newspaper's demands.
At the weekend the Evening News launched a manifesto for the region, highlighting issues we believe matter most to our readers.
The points - which this paper will use to hold candidates to account during campaigning in our region - ranged from infrastructure and housing to travel and health.
But one of the key demands was regarding mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney.
Given Norfolk and Suffolk's mental health trust has been in special measures since 2017, the manifesto calls on the government to step up support.
The Evening News said: "We believe politicians should all pledge to fight for parity of esteem across the health service and beyond for mental health issues."
And Dr Mike Spencer, the Conservative candidate for Norwich South in next month's general election, showed our manifesto to Mr Johnson when he went to meet the prime minister on Monday.
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Dr Spencer is a consultant psychiatrist who practises in Norwich, Cambridge and London.
He has expertise in child psychiatry, autism and chronic pain and said: "I was really impressed with the manifesto and particularly pleased that you highlighted improving mental health services.
"That is something that I feel very strongly about, so I was delighted that it was being raised as one of the number one issues.
"I explained to Boris Johnson that, as a child psychiatrist I want to be making it a top priority during the election campaign and he was really supportive of that."
The other candidates standing for election in Norwich South are Jim Adcock (Renew Party), Sandy Gilchrist (Brexit Party), Clive Lewis (Labour), Dr Catherine Rowett (Green Party) and James Wright (Liberal Democrats).
In the 2017 general election, Labour's Clive Lewis, who first won the seat from the Lib Dems in 2015, more than doubled his majority from 7,654 to 15,596.
The Conservatives have finished second in the past two elections, with the Lib Dems third in 2017 and the Greens third in 2015.
The general election is on Thursday, December 12.