It is a town associated with brilliant political thinkers and leaders, from Thomas Paine and Duleep Singh to... Captain Mainwaring. So what do the people of Thetford think about the prospect of their MP becoming prime minister? SARAH HUSSAIN reports

As the largest town in her constituency, Liz Truss might expect to enjoy strong support from the people of Thetford in her bid to become prime minister.

After all, the town is know for its political luminaries and leaders, as its statues demonstrate.

There is the golden effigy of Thomas Paine on King Street, celebrating the thinker whose work helped trigger the American Revolution and who was born in the town.

Nearby, on Butten Island, is the statue of Duleep Singh, the illustrious Indian ruler who settled in the area.

And then there is Captain Mainwaring, the redoubtable leader of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard forever associated with Thetford, where the Dad's Army series was filmed and where he is immortalised in a statue on Bridge Street.

So will Liz Truss one day join this impressive pantheon, with a statue of her own in Thetford, as her political idol Margaret Thatcher is commemorated in her hometown of Grantham?


Certainly, there are some who think that a prime minister Truss would be a boost to the region.

Jan Tien, who has lived in Thetford since 1997, thought she would put the market town and the surrounding area "on the map" if she defeated rival Rishi Sunak to become Conservative leader and therefore prime minister.

Ann and Richard Jeffery also thought there could be benefits for Norfolk if she were to get the keys to Number 10.

For a start, they said she would be more likely to ensure the repair of King's Lynn's crumbling Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"They have promised for years to have something done," he said.

"I think she will try to help the situation.

"She has proved herself for each task, the way she stood up to Putin.

"I think she will do good for the town and the country."

That view was shared by Marie Plume, who was visited by the MP at her home in the early years of her career.

She said: "She absolutely would be good for the country."


Philip Bolderrow, 45, said: "I think it will be beneficial for the town if she won, but I think it'll be Rishi.

"I think there should be a general election. It should be going to the people."

He added: "Thetford has quite a big heritage. She has a lot to live up to if she does become PM."

Kim, who only wanted to give her first name, jokingly said she would "emigrate" if Ms Truss became MP, adding: "I don't think it will make the slightest bit of difference. I think she's a repeat of Boris."

Another local, who asked not to be named, said PM Truss would have to be more interested in national issues than local affairs if she got the job, adding: "She will let lower ranks deal with local stuff."


Cedric Boddy, 68, who was stood next to the Thomas Paine statue, was not overly impressed with either of the Tories' two candidates for leader.

"I don't see much of her. I think neither of them should get in. They should not be in charge of the country."

On what it would mean for the town if Ms Truss became PM, he added: "I don't think it will mean anything. She won't be here. She will have a higher job."

Two friends, who asked not to be named, said: "I don't have a lot of faith in her as PM.

"I don't see her doing much for the town. She won't live up to Captain Mainwaring or Thomas Paine for the town."