It’s all up for grabs, says minister

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | General Election 2019 | Published:

Brexit could shake up the expected voting norms in the West Midlands, the Conservative Party chairman has suggested.

DUDLEY COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 07/11/2019..Pics in Wall Heath of MP Mike Wood and visiting him was James Cleverley. Pictured are business: Tea 4 Two. Owner: Natalie Neale also pictured. They didnt do the door knocking in the end as they ran out of time as the weather held them off, Mike was going later on..

James Cleverly visited the Black Country yesterday as election campaigning kicked into gear.

And he said he believed there could be more support than usual for the Tories in parts of the region because of frustration over Brexit.

Large parts of the Black Country are traditionally Labour strongholds but are also Leave-supporting areas, making the outcome of the upcoming election difficult to predict in the West Midlands.

Marginal seats that were Labour at the last election, including Wolverhampton South West and Dudley North, are among those that will be targeted by the Conservatives, who hope their campaign pledge to 'get Brexit done' will tap into pro-Leave sentiment in the region.

Mr Cleverly, who spoke to voters in Wall Heath in support of local MP Mike Wood, said: "I think a lot of people in the West Midlands, and around the country, are increasingly coming to the conclusion the Labour Party don't speak for them anymore.

"When I speak to people locally they want to get Brexit done. Predominantly people voted for Brexit, they want it delivered, they have every right to expect that. They want to get Brexit done because actually they want to talk about things like transport infrastructure, jobs and bringing investment to the West Midlands. We want to get Brexit done so we can talk about unlocking the potential of this fantastic part of the country and I think people are really warming to that."

Mr Cleverly conceded going to the country was a risk but insisted there was no other option to solve the Brexit impasse.

"All elections have a degree of risk, that's inevitable, but frankly this Parliament had just run its course. It was blocking everything, saying no to everything, it was blocking Brexit, it was preventing Parliament from doing what it's meant to do," he said.


"Frankly we didn't have a choice, we couldn't just leave it like that. We have called this election, largely forced upon us by circumstance and our offer is really, really simple. If we have a working, stable, Conservative majority at the next general election, the Brexit deal will be the first thing we present when we come back, get it done by the end of January, then we can refocus on the things politicians should be focused on."

And he had a message for people considering voting for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

He said: "A vote for the Brexit Party will actually present Brexit from being delivered. The only way Brexit is going to be delivered is with a stable majority for the Conservatives. Any other option, it's more delay, more rows, maybe another referendum."

During his visit to the region Mr Cleverly also visited manufacturing firm Thomas Dudley with Dudley North parliamentary candidate Marco Longhi.


James Cleverly and Marco Longhi with bosses at Thomas Dudley

Mr Longhi said he was delighted to welcome the party chairman to the constituency, adding: "We saw a fourth generation family run business that has been doing some great work.

"They gave us a very powerful message about the importance of innovation, and we certainly look forward to working with them in the future."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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