Express & Star

Penn voters mainly open to persuasion in newly named constituency as election is announced

With the boundary changes brought on by the 2023 Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies last year, the people of Wolverhampton South West will be getting a new MP in the forthcoming general election.

Semi retired accountant Peter Marsh said he felt outgoing MP Stuart Anderson had done a good job.

The seat has been renamed Wolverhampton West but will still cover a mixed area including parts of the inner city including St Peters and Merry Hill, Tettenhall and Penn.

They will be choosing between Mike Newton for the Conservatives, Warinder Juss for Labour and Donald Brookes for the Reform UK party.

Former banker Mr Newton runs an economic consultancy, a locomotive leasing business and a pub. Mr Juss, a solicitor, last year broke ranks with the Labour party leadership by demanding an immediate ceasefire in fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas. None of the three candidates – one of which will replace the outgoing Stuart Anderson who represented them since 2019 – has been an MP or stood for Parliament before.

The day after the General Election was announced by Rishi Sunak, we visited Cup of Joy coffee shop in the heart of Penn, just off the main A449 to see what customers and owner Ruth Uppal felt about the political picture in their area and nationally and the issues that concern them.

Ruth, who started the coffee shop 18 months ago as a 'place of encouragement, smiles and laughter for the community,' also runs a nursery in Coseley. She said the cost of living crisis made it hard to run a small business but in the case of Cup of Joy, it was thriving by providing a resource for the community as well as a place where people can come and sit and talk to others and see a friendly face.