Tories target West Midlands seats in bid for Commons majority
The Tories have today launched a blitz targeting the Black Country and Staffordshire in a bid to land the extra seats required for a Commons majority.
Boris Johnson wants a minimum of nine additional seats at next week's general election, and party strategists have pinpointed a series of constituencies across the region which they believe the Tories can take off Labour.
They include Tom Watson's old seat of West Bromwich East, and West Bromwich West – neither of which have ever had a Conservative MP.
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Wolverhampton South West, which Labour holds with a majority of 2,185, Ian Austin's old seat of Dudley North and Wolverhampton North East are also viewed as seats which could change from red to blue.
The move, which will last through to polling day, will see a major focus on the two seats in West Bromwich and the three seats covering Stoke.
They are seen by party strategists as critical in moving the party from minority to majority, meaning that Parliament would contain more than 50 per cent of MPs who have signed up to Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, which he insists would see the UK leaving the EU at the end of January 2020.
The blitz will see the government’s most senior cabinet members including Home Secretary Priti Patel, Chancellor Sajid Javid and Health Secretary Matt Hancock deployed as part of a series of daily ministerial visits through to polling day.
Mr Javid was due to get the ball rolling with a visit the West Midlands today.
A Tory source told the E&S: "This area is right on the front line for this crucial election.
"And it encapsulates the challenges we face – we need to hold on to seats like Stoke on Trent South and gain seats like Stoke on Trent North, West Bromwich West and West Bromwich East.
"We are telling voters in those seats that the only way they get Brexit done, as they voted for in 2016, is voting for the Conservatives in 2019.
"But it’s on a knife edge and every vote will count next week."
Labour has also targeted the West Midlands during the campaign, with Jeremy Corbyn visiting Birmingham twice and embarking on a campaign visit to Dudley North, a seat his party is desperate to hold onto.
A number of senior figures, including party chairman Ian Lavery, have descended on Walsall North, a seat Labour held for nearly four decades until losing it in 2017.