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Labour picks former Royal Marine to fight General Election in Halesowen

The Labour Party has chosen former Royal Marine Alex Ballinger as its General Election candidate for Halesowen.

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Labour candidate Alex Ballinger

Mr Ballinger served eight years with the Royal Marines, twice deploying to Afghanistan, before becoming an aid worker and diplomat with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

The former military man was chosen over Ian Cooper, who stood for the party in the previous incarnation of the seat, Halesowen and Rowley Regis, in the last General Election, losing to Conservative incumbent James Morris.

Mr Ballinger's career led him to organise humanitarian efforts during the war in Syria and he led relief work in the restive tribal districts of Pakistan. In 2021 as Kabul fell to the Taliban, Alex was organising a team evacuating aid workers, women’s rights activists and journalists out of the country.

Mr Ballinger resigned from the Foreign Office appalled at the direction the Conservatives were leading the country. He now uses his experience to run a community-based charity that helps people suffering from poor mental health across Birmingham and the Black Country.

He said: "I’m delighted to be selected as Labour’s candidate for Halesowen. Halesowen is a fantastic town that has been let down by the Tories over the last 14 years.

“As a former Royal Marine, I know what it means to serve your country. I’ll serve the people of Halesowen with the same dedication and deliver real change for our town."

He added: “I can’t wait to get out on the doorstep, talk to residents and share Labour’s plan for our region. I’ll be making the case for how Labour can change people’s lives for the better.”