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Broadland Lib Dems pick local candidate Dan Roper for key seat

January 28, 2010 8:04 PM

Broadland Liberal Democrats have selected local party member Dan Roper to be their candidate at the General Election later this year. Mr Roper succeeds April Pond who switched from being the Broadland candidate to fight the Norwich North by election last July.

Dan Roper joined the Liberal Democrats in 2007 after previously being active in the Labour party and a key member of the campaign team for Ian Gibson at four general elections. Ironically, it was Dr Gibson's resignation as MP that led to the by-election that caused Ms Pond to leave the Broadland seat.

Broadland has been seen as a top target for the Lib Dems as it takes in a proportion of Norman Lamb's safe North Norfolk constituency. The party has made impressive gains in local by elections in the past year with wins in Buxton, Walsingham and spectacularly in Wroxham. The website "Political calculus" estimated a notional majority for the Conservatives in 2005 of just a few hundred votes. Although the Conservatives might be expected to do better this year, a combination of Lib Dem by election gains and contentious local issues such as the Rackheath eco town potentially make this seat too close to call. Given that the Lib Dems will need to attract disaffected Labour voters to win, the selection of a candidate with past Labour links can be seen as a shrewd move.

It had been rumoured that the national party would "parachute" a big name into this key seat. However it soon became clear that Mr Roper had such overwhelming support from the local party that he was selected unopposed. North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb described Mr Roper as a "first class candidate who will make an excellent Member of Parliament".