Norman Lamb to stand down as an MP at next election

Norman Lamb has told the Eastern Daily Press that he will not stand for election again:

Sir Norman Lamb, who was elected under the Liberal Democrats for North Norfolk 18 and a half years ago, said Brexit had stalled so much of parliament’s business he no longer felt other issues got the time they deserved.

Sir Norman, 61, spoke exclusively to this newspaper to announce he would not be standing at the next election – which he expected before the end of the year – but also to launch his next endeavour to help improve mental health care in the county.

Sir Norman, who lives in Norwich with his wife Mary, said: “It’s been 18 and a half years. I spent 11 years before that trying to get elected. I started out against a 15,500 Conservative majority in 1992.”

By 1997 the Tory majority had dropped to just 1,293 votes and in 2001 he finally unseated Conservative David Prior, who is now chairman of NHS England and was previously chairman at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with a 483 majority.

It’s an amazing achievement that Norman has held the North Norfolk seat for eighteen and a half years, through thick and thin. It was amazing that he won the seat in the first place. But this is all testament to Norman’s vast capacity for hard work on behalf of his constituents, as well as to his great personal charm and sense of compromise. Norman has been an outstanding Liberal Democrat MP and will leave a huge gap on the Commons benches. It is typical that he and his wife Mary have given generously to start a local mental health fund.

Jo Swinson tweeted as follows:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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24 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Aug '19 - 3:23pm

    As good a human being as he is a Liberal Democrat. As nice as he is intelligent.

    Supporting him and voting for him as leader, interacting with him online since, evident that, even when the party got too obsessed with the EU, Norman displayed Liberal qualities, generous and measured, though he was in some instances not fond of the obsessiveness about an issue, he , like me, agreed with our policy on, but not as the main priority.

    He, as Sir Norman, now, has much to offer yet, and those of us who value his contribution, many , indeed, look forward to engaging with him in future…

  • John Barrett 27th Aug '19 - 3:23pm

    You have made a wise decision, while you are in good health and have the energy to move onto other things.

    I am sure you will no doubt enjoy spending more time with family, friends and working on any other issues you decide to tackle in the years to come.

    All the best for the future and make sure we hold your seat at the next election.

  • If what I hear is true and that Norman’s personal vote in not-so-liberal Brexit-heavy North Norfolk is huge and thus responsible for a huge chunk of the Liberal Democrat vote there, I hope the local party can be free to select the candidate with the most established recognition in the the constituency and the best links with the activist base. It will be an almighty struggle to build up a personal vote for a new candidate in a short amount of time and so will need a good standing start and a fully bought in activist base to deliver the campaign. Let’s hope no All Womens Shortlist is imposed on the selection that could potentially exclude the best known candidate and most liked by the activists just because of the candidate’s gender. Such selection processes can be very bitter and divisive which is exactly what such a campaign doesn’t need right now. But I fear the case of candidate selection method in this case might have been centralised away from the local party to the central party meaning the local party must have an All Womans Shortlist imposed on it.

  • marcstevens 27th Aug '19 - 4:25pm

    He would have made an excellent Leader of the party, I would have voted for him purely on policy, his all round appeal and plain speaking on so many issues not all of which I would agree with. It is also discriminatory to dismiss leadership candidates on health grounds whether mental, physical or other as was the case with Charles Kennedy. It is also blatant discrimination and I agree with the above poster if male candidates are barred from standing in North Norfolk; selection should be open to both male, female and other genders not just one. I still see Layla Moran as a potential Leader and hope her time will come. Centralising candidate selection is very much the antithesis of liberal policies of decentralising power and giving more say to people locally and in local neighbourhoods when it comes to decision making.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '19 - 4:36pm

    An honourable man who has so much to offer.

  • John Chandler 27th Aug '19 - 4:38pm

    Sad to see Norman stand down at the next election, but great to see him carry on his work with improving mental health support.

  • I have huge respect for Norman Lamb and I am sorry he is leaving national politics. I regarded him as a beacon of decency in otherwise unattractive surroundings. I wish him happiness and success with his new projects.

  • John Marriott 27th Aug '19 - 6:16pm

    A modest man with NOTHING to be modest about!

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Aug '19 - 7:16pm

    Parliament will miss you Norman

  • Mark Seaman 27th Aug '19 - 7:40pm

    Met him several years ago, when I was a member of the Lib Dems, to discuss certain practises by a government department which were not up to scratch. He was very competent during the meeting, with the parliamentary questions he asked, and in the feedback I received. Best wishes to him in his future efforts.

  • @marcstevens

    If I understood the party rules correctly, then in all seats where a sitting Liberal Democrat MP is retiring, then the local party MUST have an all womans shortlist imposed upon it for the selection of the new candidate, thus discriminating against candidates by banning some from seeking selection based on their genitalia. I do hope that I’m wrong, but I fear I have interpreted the rules correctly

  • nigel hunter 28th Aug '19 - 12:32am

    An ALL womens list is sexist against men bias and undemocratic.The BEST person for the constituency should be selected. By having this rule the best candidate may not be selected.

  • So who made these rules? Best thing I can do and others is complain to these people as well as Ms Swinson. It is blatant discrimination not only against men but transgendered people.

  • The party made the rule about all-women short-lists. Passed at Spring Conference a few years ago. And transgender women are women.

  • @marcstevens ” It is also discriminatory to dismiss leadership candidates on health grounds whether mental, physical or other as was the case with Charles Kennedy.”

    I disagree. Someone employed to do a job needs to be able to do that job. Some alcoholics can function; Kennedy couldn’t. They should be given treatment/assistance to ensure they are able to do the job but, ultimately, if they still can’t, then that job is not right for them.

  • John Bicknell 28th Aug '19 - 2:04pm

    I see that Sir Vince has also confirmed that he will be standing down, and that there will be an all-women shortlist for the new PPC. That would suggest that the same rule will apply in North Norfolk. It was necessary when the parliamentary party was all male, but now that we are approaching gender equality, it seems like gerrymandering the selection process, in order to solve a problem that no longer exists.

  • Graham Jeffs 28th Aug '19 - 2:51pm

    Trust us to shoot ourselves in the feet! ALL candidates should be selected on the basis that they are the best for the job – not on the basis of their sex. I’ve witnessed more capable males being passed over in the workplace [not me!] to fulfil ‘the quota’. It’s insulting to them, it damages the image of competent non-males as the question arises “were they promoted on merit?” and at a constituency level it’s surely imperative that the person most likely to gain support because of their ability, public recognition and track record should be the person most likely to be selected.

  • David Evans 28th Aug '19 - 3:06pm

    TCO – Charles Kennedy could function, very effectively, as his clear from his electoral success. In 2001 under his leadership we went from 46 MPs to 52 and in 2005 we went to 62MPs.

    His successor by contrast took us down to 57 MPs in 2010 and then to only 8 in 2015.

    I suggest you try evidence based postings rather than simply expounding arbitrary personal views.

  • @David Evans “I suggest you try evidence based postings rather than simply expounding arbitrary personal views.”

    I suggest you take your own advice.

    I wrote “Some alcoholics can function; Kennedy couldn’t.” I doubt you were as well acquainted with Mr Kennedy’s performance as Sir Menzies Cambell, who provided ample evidence that Mr Kennedy couldn’t function when he wrote :

    “Then a crisis erupted on one of the biggest occasions of the parliamentary year: Budget Day in March 2004.

    Just before I went to the Chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions, which preceded Gordon Brown’s Budget statement, my assistant asked me to ring Anna Werrin. He added: “I think it’s urgent.”

    Anna said: “Charles has a stomach complaint and can’t do Prime Minister’s Questions. Can you do it?”

    I had 15 minutes to prepare myself for one of the most difficult parliamentary occasions of the week.

    When I went to collect the two questions that had been prepared, the door to Charles’s office was closed and Anna was standing outside.

    “Can I see Charles?” I asked. Anna said: “He’s very sick. He’s in a bad way. It’s better if you don’t.””

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/how-drink-destroyed-charles-kennedy-by-menzies-campbell-7301432.html

    This explains why in 2005, despite the most propitious circumstances a Liberal Democrat leader has ever had, and given we were facing a hugely unpopular Labour government, and were riding high on the fall-out from the Iraq War, we only took 9 seats from the Labour Party, and made only ten net gains overall. A huge wasted opportunity to do serious damage to Labour at a time when they were weak.

  • marcstevens 28th Aug '19 - 5:18pm

    Some gender neutral people do not classify themselves as women or men so are being discriminated against as are men. I would be interested on the view of the EOC on this as is stands as blatant discrimination. It should be reversed at the earliest opportunity and challenged in law. Yes it does seem to be a personal slur attack even on Charles Kennedy, now being stereotyped as an alcoholic. I remember when the men/women in white coats stepped in at that time, must have been TCO’s Orange Booker mates.

  • TCO – Charles Kennedy, your alcoholic who couldn’t function +16MPs. Nick Clegg, the fortunate recipient of an electoral fluke when he lost 5MPs but gained the balance of power, which really was “the most propitious circumstances a Liberal Democrat leader has ever had” and then lost a further 49MPs five years later to let David Cameron, his best mate into power. A catastrophe that is resulting in Brexit just five years later.

    I suggest not only do you look at facts, you also get a sense of perspective.

  • David Evans 29th Aug '19 - 1:06am

    And much more important than another rant against a great (if also in some ways sadly flawed) leader who sadly is no longer here to defend himself – Thank you Norman you were a great local MP and an excellent Liberal. All the very best to you. I hope your successor can hold the seat and build on your legacy in North Norfolk.

  • Tony Greaves 1st Sep '19 - 2:51pm

    Yet again some people think it’s sensible to divert an important thread about one of our leading MPs retiring, and the future in that seat, with an argument about a previous leader and past history. Why can’t people stick to the topic? Or are too many LDs as daft as much of the rest of the internet?

  • Lynda Glennie 14th Sep '19 - 5:40pm

    Norman Lamb continues to talk the greatest sense on possible EU withdrawal agreement but is still I think the only Libdem MP in the crossparty compromise group announced a few days ago with Stephen Kinnock, Caroline Flint etc. Will our other MPs please support him!

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