Over the last twenty four hours I have received more than 250 emails, as well as dozens of phone calls from friends, colleagues and many people I have never met expressing their sympathy. I have to say it's a bit like being present at your own funeral, but they have certainly kept my spirits up. Having gone through a very difficult few hours and had a bit of sleep my mind is now turning towards the future - as one door closes, another opens. Which door that will be, who knows.
Here are a few of the emails I have received...
I was devastated to hear this news. Of all our candidates throughout thecountry, you especially deserved to win. It must seem indescribably hardafter your amazing efforts and first-class media campaign, which Iconstantly pointed out to other friends as an example of what a candidate should do. CKE
I am stunned. We have just arrived back from Stansted after a business visit to Spain. This was fixed long before the date of the election so we voted by post. All your friends and colleagues are will be devastated. The feeling I got from everyone I spoke to was that your campaign was hitting all the right notes. You certainly showed a powerful level of commitment with thoughtful and valid perspectives on both local and national issues of importance.Please do not lose heart; I know you will not RH
After so much hard work, effort and dedication the outcome of the election will have been devastating for you and a huge disappointment for all your active supporters. Public rejection must be a bitter pill to swallow and you would not be human if now you did not feel very low indeed. You have my sympathy and I must say I wonder sometimes why anyone would wish to take up politics as a vocation. I wish you good luck in the future and do remember dear old Winston Churchill. Maybe a little while in the wilderness for you now but then, as they always do, an opportunity will come along and you will then be ready again for the fray. Good luck and I'm sorry that my vote for you was not enough. PB
You know we all feel for you. Nobody could haveworked harder than you've done over the last two years and it's adreadful shame the ways things have worked out. BC
I have been inspired andmotivated by the huge amount of work you personally have put in and yourenthusiasm and the fact that you're a nice guy, approachable, human and avery real and accessible face of the Conservatives in this area. I am verydisappointed for you personally as well as your team and all theConservatives I know. You certainly didn't deserve the result you got. SA
My wife and I are so very sorry about this disastrous election result. After all your magnificent efforts for North Norfolk, putting your opponent in the shade, I might add, you did deserve to win. RD
I want you to know that there are morethan a few people who noted your support for the hospital; not just yoursupport but your intelligent, incisive, challenging words and ensuingaction. ie.getting national commitment to reopen the hospital.Secondly I want you to know that several of these people commented on yourevident talents:'he is a man for the future; he is 'ministerial' material;could he be a PM in this century?'It must be very discouraging to work so hard: -foot slogging door to door,day after day, rain after rain-- and then face overwhelming defeat. I sohope you will not allow yourself to be crushed and that we will hear that:your most evident talents and clarity of intellectual energy have found away into an MP position, somewhere, before long.I wish you well, so well. ST
When we appointed you, you told us you would not let us down and you didn't.No one could have worked harder or more effectively than you. Take your timeand you will have our support whatever you decide. CT
I am sure that all your friends and supporters feel for you in much the same way as I do. We watched as you put all your being into the contest, you could not have been more dedicated and hard working. You clearly demonstrated an affinity and keen concern for local issues. You have the very good fortune of knowing that you really truly did all that was possible to win and there is no need for any self discrimination caused by lack of effort or application on your part. PJ
I was leaving youto grieve in peace but I won't now as, more than anything else, I wouldlike to comfort you. You worked terrifically hard and you lead from thefront which is why you got all that grand support. I think you shouldcontinue to get a warm glow from that and the inspiration you have been. TA
I know you will be very disappointed. I was one of the 20,000 who voted for you,and am as fed up as I am sure you will be. I regret that Norman had worked hard inthe constituency for many years, and you had a very tough call. Thank you fortrying your hardest and let's hope we get a different result next time. Don't betoo self-blaming, I am sure you will be a successful Conservative MP yet. RH
I just wanted to drop you a note to say how sorry I was to hear that you weren't successful last night, I had to check the copy several times as I couldn't believe it. Every one who knows you - of whatever political persuasion - believes that you would make an excellent MP and be a real asset to constituents and parliamentary life alike and, although it might be too early for you to want to hear this, I'd urge you to consider standing again at the next election - I know how much that takes but you'd be such an asset. LS
Please accept my sympathy for the result. It is a very poor reward for the hard work that you have done over the past years. If it helps, a similar fate happened to Winston Churchill at Dundee in 1921 (so I believe) but he was Chancellor of the Exchequer within 3 years after fighting another Election. AD
I've travelled round the country quite a lot over the last four weeks and North Norfolk had more posters up than anywhere else I've been, so it was hard fought. You ran a good campaign, but you were up against an active sitting tenant who has done a lot for his constituents, which is a tough challenge, especially during a national swing to LibDems. So, despite losing, congratulations are in order; at least you have the consolation of having been mentioned on Have I Got News for You. DL