‘It’s a huge change in my life’ - Go Ape founder elected Broadland MP
PUBLISHED: 07:07 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:07 13 December 2019
Conservative Jerome Mayhew has been elected Broadland MP after securing a majority of over 21,000.
The result came after an exit poll predicted a landslide majority for the Tory party with pollsters forecasting 368 Tory MPs to Labour's 191, giving them a Commons majority of 86.
Mr Mayhew and Labour's Jess Barnard ran against Liberal Democrat Ben Goodwin, the Green Party's Andrew Boswell, and Simon Rous, from the Universal Good Party.
Ms Barnard was the next closest candidate, with 12,073 votes, compared with Mr Goodwin's 9,195, Mr Boswell's 1,412, and Mr Rous' 363.
Mr Mayhew, who founded the adventure company Go Ape, said: "I'm delighted but there's a tinge of nervousness in there. It's a huge change to my life which I'm thoroughly looking forward to."
He said his first priority for Broadland would be signing the Withdrawal Agreement and getting Brexit done, and added: "One of the issues is the need to improve social care in Broadland and around the country.
"We're looking at going cross-party to build consensus."
And he added that he had "stepped back entirely" from his business into a non-executive role.
While Ms Barnard said: "It's been a really difficult night for us and it's really disappointing.
"Personally, I'm just really concerned and worried by the fact the Tories have stepped in with a majority. People are suffering under this government.
"I've been invited into people's homes and seen extreme poverty.
"My message to young voters is don't give up. I would just like to tell them to keep fighting.
"I think its a problem with a lot of areas. The election system that we have, the way the boundaries have been changed, the press is a huge, huge problem."
In 2017, Conservative MP Keith Simpson won 57.9pc of the vote in Broadland, with 32,406 votes and a comfortable majority of 15,816.
After the MP announced he would not be standing for re-election the candidacy was initially won for the Tories by former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad.
But Mr Conrad stepped down just 24 hours after being selected, following a backlash over comments he made during a 2014 radio conversation about the rape conviction of footballer Ched Evans - who was cleared at retrial.
He later apologised for his remarks.