A member of the so-called "Turnip Taliban" has said he is increasingly optimistic about beating Liz Truss to the seat for South West Norfolk at the next General Election. 

Former Norfolk high sheriff James Bagge will be hosting a "supporters rally" at Thetford Rugby Club at 11am on Saturday, May 25.

Mr Bagge, a lawyer and ex-army officer, was one of the rebel Tories who voted against Ms Truss becoming the Conservative candidate for the safe seat of South West Norfolk in 2009.

Mr Bagge announced his plans to run against the former PM in January.

He said: "The message on the doorstep and at meetings is clear and unequivocal. The voters of SW Norfolk want a change.

"They want a representative in Westminster who puts the interests of the constituents ahead of their own personal ambitions and party dictat, one who is broadly aligned with their own political outlook, and one who is determined to make a real difference to their lives at a local level.

“I am honoured to have received such a groundswell of genuine support in my endeavour to be that person, and I am determined and will do all I can to fulfil those wishes. Please support me by attending this rally and encouraging others to do so as well.”

The rally at Thetford will feature a speech by Martin Bell, veteran independent MP and known as “The Man in the White Suit” for his stance against parliamentary sleaze.

Thetford & Brandon Times: Former PM Liz TrussFormer PM Liz Truss (Image: PA)

Also speaking will be Andy Preston, businessman and charity chairman, who was mayor of Middlesbrough between 2019 and 2023.

The line-up will be completed by Jenny Groom, former Mayor of Downham Market, and Liz Pye of Norfolk Citizens Advice. 

Ms Groom said: "James cares. He has been quietly working behind the scenes for many years, helping to make things happen, supporting those who need help and support.

"He asks questions, he researches, he listens and he responds. He is independent, untrammelled by a party which tells him how to vote.”