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Results & Constituencies
 
 Norfolk South West
Other Conservative hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Gillian Shephard Conservative 27,633 52.2 +10.2
Anne Hanson Labour 18,267 34.5 -3.3
Gordon Dean Liberal Democrat 5,681 10.7 -3.2
Ian Smith UK Independence 1,368 2.6  
Majority 9,366 17.7
Turnout 52,949 63.1 -10.0
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 6.7% from Labour to Conservative

Description
This has traditionally been a safe Conservative seat and the area is predominantly rural and includes a small part of the fens. Not surprisingly, farming is an important part of the local economy, including both crops and turkey-raising.

Defence cuts have hit the area with the closure of air bases which still adorn the countryside, and the Ministry of Defence still owns a large tract of land used as a Battle Training Area to which the general public are forbidden entry.

The seat has a rich history. Nelson attended school at Downham Market and Tom Paine was born at Thetford in 1737. At Cockley Cley an Iceni village has been recreated on what is believed to be the site of a first century village dating from the time of Boudicca, the East Anglian Iceni Queen who challenged the Roman army.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Norfolk South West
Conservative hold
Name Party Votes %
Gillian Shephard Conservative 24,694 42.0
Adrian Heffernan Labour 22,230 37.8
David Buckton Liberal Democrat 8,178 13.9
Ronnie Hoare Referendum 3,694 6.3
Majority 2,464 4.2
Turnout 58,796 73.1
 
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