Wolverhampton General Election preview: Will city's three seats stay Labour?

We preview the three Wolverhampton 2019 General Election seats: Wolverhampton North East, Wolverhampton South East and Wolverhampton South West.

Eleanor Smith, Emma Reynolds and Pat McFadden are all hoping to be re-elected as Labour MPs in Wolverhampton
Eleanor Smith, Emma Reynolds and Pat McFadden are all hoping to be re-elected as Labour MPs in Wolverhampton

All three Wolverhampton seats are held by Labour, with the tightest constituency being Wolverhampton South West which Eleanor Smith won by 2,185 votes in 2017.

The seat is a key Tory target and the bookies have the Conservatives as favourites to win back the constituency they last won when Paul Uppal beat Rob Marris in 2010.

Labour's Emma Reynolds won the North East seat by more than 4,500 votes two years ago while Pat McFadden held onto South East by more than 8,500 votes.

The Labour MPs are each standing for re-election, but will they hold onto their seats and keep Wolverhampton red?

City MPs Emma Reynolds and Eleanor Smith with the Prime Minister at the Armistice Service in Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton South West: The key city seat

One of the closest battles in the region is likely to take place in Wolverhampton South West, a traditional Tory stronghold that has been a key marginal since 1997.

It is currently held by Labour’s Eleanor Smith, who retained the seat for Jeremy Corbyn’s party with an extended majority of 2,185 at the 2017 poll.

Eleanor Smith with shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth at Wood Road Health Centre, which Ms Smith has campaigned to keep open

In doing so she became the West Midlands first MP from an Afro-Caribbean background, in a seat that was held for more than two decades by Enoch Powell.

Her main challenge comes from Conservative Stuart Anderson, a Brexiteer and former British Army sniper who moved his family to the city from Hereford to fight for the seat.

Who are the Wolverhampton South West election candidates?

  • Eleanor Smith, Labour*

  • Leo Grandison, Brexit

  • Stuart Anderson, Conservative

  • Bart Ricketts, Liberal Democrat

What was the 2017 Wolverhampton South West election result?

  • Eleanor Smith, Labour - 20,899

  • Paul Uppal, Conservative - 18,714

  • Rob Jones, UKIP - 1,012

  • Sarah Quarmby, Liberal Democrat - 784

  • Andrea Cantrill, Green - 579

  • Jagmeet Singh, Independent - 358

  • Turnout - 71 per cent (42,461 out of electorate of 59,971)

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/3, Labour 15/8, Brexit Party 66/1, Lib Dem 80/1, Green 500/1

The constituency is made up of the city centre and the west and south-west parts of Wolverhampton, including the university and the Civic Centre and St Peter’s, Graiseley, Park, Penn, Merry Hill and Tettenhall.

It has clearly been targeted by the Tories, who will need to win big across the Midlands if they are to offset likely losses in Scotland and the South East.

Stuart Anderson, right, is the Tory candidate for Wolverhampton South West. With him is Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

For evidence, the list of senior party figures who have visited Wolverhampton South West in the past 10 days includes PM Boris Johnson, and cabinet ministers Sajid Javid, Dominic Rabb, Johnny Mercer, Matt Hancock and Robert Jenrick.

In the run up to the election both main candidates have campaigned on the same side on a series of local issues.

More coverage of Wolverhampton South West:

They have fought to save Seven Cornfields and Wood Road Surgery, and they joined forces to campaign against Labour-run Wolverhampton Council’s plans for a travellers site off Gorsebrook Road.

Former nurse Ms Smith, who underwent a testing start to her term after she criticised the Black Country flag, campaigned to make the drug Spinraza available in the UK.

Mr Anderson, who has faced questions over his former business, wants to bring a new railway station to Tettenhall.

Chancellor Sajid Javid also visited Wolverhampton South West on the campaign trail

He believes his pro-Brexit message can help win over voters, although the constituency had the lowest Leave vote in the city in the EU referendum at 54 per cent.

Ms Smith is launching a similar “people powered” campaign to the one that she says got her elected at the last election, when dozens of Momentum activists from Birmingham helped out on the doorstep.

The constituency is one of those suggested by the People’s Vote campaign for tactical voting, with Remainers urged to support Labour to stop the Tories.

This could be bad news for Lib Dem candidate Bart Ricketts, a former London councillor who stood against Sajid Javid in Bromsgrove at the 2015 election.

He has backed local businesses in his campaign for “responsible capitalism”.

Leo Grandison is standing for the Brexit Party.

Wolverhampton North East

The Labour Party has won Wolverhampton North East in 18 out of the 19 general elections that have taken place since the seat was formed.

Emma Reynolds has held the seat since 2010, beating the Conservatives into second place in 2017 with a majority of 4,587.

Emma Reynolds was first elected to Wolverhampton North East in 2010

On that occasion she took to the campaign trail with her first born in tow, having given birth just a few weeks before the election was called.

And she may be hitting the streets with a double-buggy for this election after giving birth to child number two in July.

Who are the Wolverhampton North East election candidates?

  • Emma Reynolds, Labour*

  • Vishal Khatri, Brexit

  • Jane Stevenson, Conservative

  • Andrea Cantrill, Green

  • Richard Maxwell, Liberal Democrat

What was the 2017 Wolverhampton North East election result?

  • Emma Reynolds, Labour - 19,282

  • Sarah Macken, Conservative - 14,695

  • Graham Eardley, UKIP - 1,479

  • Ian Jenkins, Liberal Democrat - 570

  • Clive Wood - 482

  • Turnout: 60% (36,593 out of electorate of 60,950)

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Labour 4/6, Conservative 11/10, Brexit Party 40/1, Lib Dem 150/1, Green 500/1

In a constituency where 69 per cent of people voted Leave in the EU referendum, the Tories believe they have a chance of achieving the swing necessary to turn the seat blue for the first time since Maureen Hicks won it in 1987.

Their candidate is Jane Stevenson, a Wolverhampton councillor who was elected in the Tettenhall Wightwick seat at the 2018 local elections.

Jane Stevenson, pictured with Tory Party chairman James Cleverly, is the Conservative candidate for Wolverhampton North East

So far in the campaign, Ms Reynolds, an avid Remainer and a former shadow cabinet minister under Ed Miliband, has focused on road safety as part of her push for new measures to improve the city’s highways for pedestrians and motorists. She is also calling for an end to school cuts and backed youth climate strike activists.

Ms Stevenson, who campaigned for Leave in the EU referendum, is also campaigning on road safety and wants a tree-planting scheme across the city to help the environment.

More coverage of Wolverhampton North East:

Minority parties usually do well to get their deposits back in Wolverhampton North East, and only once since 1987 has any party other than the big two got more than 15 per cent of the vote.

The Brexit Party’s Vishal Khatri, a candidate in this year’s European elections, will be hoping to take advantage of the seat’s high Leave vote.

Lib Dem Richard Maxwell, a construction industry worker, is campaigning to boost funding for the NHS.

Andrea Cantrill is standing for the Greens in Wolverhampton North East

Meanwhile Green candidate Andrea Cantrill is making her third bid for parliament, having last stood in neighbouring Wolverhampton South West in 2017 where she lost her deposit.

Her campaign priorities are equality and the environment.

The constituency covers the areas including Bushbury, Fallings Park, Heath Town, Oxley, Pendeford and Wednesfield.

Wolverhampton South East

A Labour stronghold in the truest sense of the word, Wolverhampton South East has only ever been won by Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

The constituency, which is one of the most economically deprived in the country, has Bilston at its heart and also covers areas including Blakenhall, East Park and Ettingshall.

Labour candidate Pat McFadden was joined by Tony Blair during the election campaign

Who are the Wolverhampton South East election candidates?

  • Pat McFadden, Labour*

  • Raj Singh Chaggar, Brexit

  • Ahmed Ejaz, Conservative

  • Kathryn Gilbert, Green

  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor, Liberal Democrat

What was the 2017 Wolverhampton South East election result?

  • Pat McFadden, Labour - 21,137

  • Kieran Mullan, Conservative - 12,623

  • Barry Hodgson, UKIP - 1,675

  • Ben Mathis, Liberal Democrat - 448

  • Amy Bertaut, Green - 421

  • Turnout - 60 per cent (36,390 out of electorate of 60,301)

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Labour 1/5, Conservative, 3/1, Brexit Party 40/1, Lib Dem 100/1, Green 500/1

Since 2005 it had been held by Pat McFadden, who served as a minister under Gordon Brown and is considered a leading figure among Labour moderates.

He is unlikely to mention Mr Corbyn’s name too often during the campaign.

The Labour leader sacked him from the shadow cabinet in January 2016, and the pair hold very different views on the type of party Labour should be.

More coverage of Wolverhampton South East:

A long-standing Europhile, Mr McFadden represents the biggest Leave voting constituency in the city and holds a majority of 8,514 from the last election.

The Tory candidate this time is Ahmed Ejaz, a Dudley optician who stood in the European elections.

Ahmed Ejaz is challenging Pat McFadden for the Conservatives

The Brexit Party’s Raj Chaggar will be hoping to take advantage of the seat’s high Leave vote.

Other candidates are Kathryn Gilbert for the Greens and Lib Dem Ruth-Coleman Taylor.

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