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Eddie Hughes becomes latest Tory MP to announce his Black Country departure

Eddie Hughes has become the latest Conservative MP in the Black Country to announce he is moving on at the next general election.

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Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes has announced he is standing down

Mr Hughes, who has represented Walsall North since 2017, said he is looking for a new home due to his seat being carved up under boundary changes.

Under Conservative Party rules, MPs in constituencies that are being changed as part of the latest boundary review can apply to be classed as "displaced", meaning they are permitted to seek selection elsewhere.

He is expected to put himself forward for candidacy in another constituency when the party announces its first set of seats on April 18.

It comes after West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards and Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson both announced they were standing down earlier this week.

Mr Hughes said in a statement: "Since being elected in 2017, I’ve been asked countless times why I wanted to represent the area and I’m sure many of you have heard me say this before – although I am a Brummie,

"I’ve lived in Walsall for most of my life and served as a Walsall councillor for nearly 20 years. The opportunity to represent an area and communities that I know so well was not one that I had to think twice about.

"Since June 2021 I have been fighting with the Boundary Commission to keep Bloxwich, Willenhall and Walsall North together. Initially the Commission proposed a Bloxwich and Brownhills constituency and split Willenhall into two Wolverhampton constituencies.

"In November last year, it felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under my feet as the Commission proposed a new constituency of Walsall and Bloxwich which, in my view, divides our towns and threatens to rip apart the identities of our communities and has effectively abolished the constituency of Walsall North.

"This means that I am now considered to be displaced and I am unable to represent Walsall North at the next General Election. I understand that this may come as a surprise to many of you but it’s not a decision that I’ve taken lightly.

"During my six years as your MP, I have been overwhelmed by the warmth of support I have received from people across the constituency, including some of those who are not naturally Conservative supporters.

"Over this time we’ve built a strong team of dedicated and hardworking councillors and I feel that we’ve made a real difference to the area.

"Tragically, the constituency I was elected to serve in 2017 will simply no longer exist after July of this year and I feel a tremendous sadness that this is the case and that communities that I have developed close ties with are being pulled apart.

"This is a fantastic area with brilliant people that I have represented with pride in Westminister and nothing will change until the general election. I will continue to do everything I can as to represent Bloxwich, Willenhall and Walsall North for as long as I’m able to."

Former housing minister Mr Hughes won Walsall North in 2017 after it had been Labour for nearly 40 years. In 2019 he increased his majority from 2,601 to 11,965.

Under boundary changes, which are expected to come in ahead of the next general election, Walsall North and Walsall South will be carved up and a new Walsall and Bloxwich seat will be created, alongside Aldridge-Brownhills.