Express & Star

Halesowen councillor chosen to contest Birmingham seat for the Tories in General Election

Belle Vale Councillor and former Dudley Council cabinet member Simon Phipps is standing for the Conservatives in Birmingham constituency Selly Oak.

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The councillor is one of a number of Black Country councillors who are fighting seats on away turf.

Cradley Heath and Old Hill Councillor Vicki Smith is standing for Labour in Wyre Forest.

Councillor Phipps told the Express & Star: "It is a huge responsibility to be entrusted to be a parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party. So, I am deeply honoured that I have been selected by local people in Selly Oak to fight this election for them.

"I'm working hard every day to get our message out to voters across the constituency, as well as supporting colleagues who have fantastic track records in their own areas, like James Morris in Halesowen where I am also a councillor.

Belle Vale Councillor Simon Phipps

"I'm still getting on with the job of being a local councillor, so even during the election I'll be responding to local casework from residents often."

He added:"Labour's record here in the West Midlands is one of failure to secure investment, waging a war on motorists, and bankrupting the largest local authority in Europe. If that's what they can do to our region, we can't let them do that to our country."

The 29-year-old is also hoping to get the vote of motorists in the second city by campaigning against Birmingham City Council's green agenda as well as highlighting the affect of recent budget cuts by the authority.

Councillor Phipps is following in the footsteps of other Dudley councillors who have run to become MPs and succeeded.

Mike Wood lost six local elections in a row before becoming Conservative councillor for Pedmore and Stourbridge East in 2014 and then benefited from Dudley South Tory MP Chris Kelly's decision to give up politics after one term and won selection in the borough's first open primary.

Mike Wood was elected to Parliament in 2015 and represented the seat until this year.

Under boundary changes Dudley South has been scrapped with Kingswinford and South Staffordshire being formed, which Mike Wood is contesting.

Mr Wood was Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris' assistant, a job which he had to leave after being selected as a candidate. His successor was Birmingham Kingstanding councillor Gary Sambrook, who became an MP in 2019 after winning former Labour safe seat Northfield from Labour.

Nicola Richards was formerly councillor for Kingswinford before being selected to contest then Labour deputy leader Tom Watson's West Bromwich East constituency. Mr Watson stood down before the 2019 General Election and Miss Richards clinched the seat for the Conservatives for the first time since 1931. Marco Longhi, who represented Dudley North for the Conservatives since 2019 was a councillor in Walsall before being selected to run for Parliament.

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