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New Black Country Tory MPs head to Parliament

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

New Conservative MPs took their seats in Parliament for the first time with a pledge to get Brexit done so the country can finally move on.

Stuart Anderson was elected for the Conservatives in Wolverhampton South West

Boris Johnson returned to the Commons backed by nearly 50 new Tories after last week's election put him in a commanding position to deliver his agenda for the country.

Conservative MPs in the Black Country said the Prime Minister's thumping majority would allow him to break the deadlock of the last few years.

Those among the new intake included five MPs representing parts of the Black Country after the Conservatives won in areas traditionally classed as Labour strongholds, including both West Bromwich seats and Wolverhampton North East.

Mr Johnson arrived back in Westminster in the strongest position of any PM since Tony Blair after achieving the biggest Tory majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher.

For the new MPs, their induction was something akin to the first day of school as they were taught the ropes of Westminster life.

They included new West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards, who at just 24, is one of the youngest in the Commons. She attended a "training session" on her first day with other newbies.

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Nervous excitement

Stuart Anderson is another of the new intake after the marginal Wolverhampton South West constituency swung back to the Tories as Labour's Eleanor Smith was defeated.

The former solider described entering Parliament for the first time as "daunting" but said he was excited to get started.

Mr Anderson said: "I was 16 when I enlisted for the army and it feels very similar. Signing up to serve your country is brilliant. I'm very nervous but very excited to start learning what to do here.

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"I'm learning how to be an MP and what I have got available to help the constituents of Wolverhampton. I want to get my constituency office set up as soon as I can.

New West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards with Conservative campaigner David Fisher

"It's brilliant to see so many Black Country seats get Conservative candidates."

He added: "We promised to get Brexit done and I will be supporting that and focusing on that so we can then focus on the NHS, crime, what's important to people's lives.

"We've got a strong working majority and we want to get on with it."

New colleagues

Mike Wood, who was reelected as Conservative MP for Dudley South with an increased majority, said the clear victory would allow the Government to focus on domestic issues once Brexit is "done".

He said: "It is going to be fantastic to have so many new colleagues, 10 Black Country MPs in the House of Commons, strong voices for the region.

"Not long ago Aldridge-Brownhills were by themselves on the Conservative benches.

Conservative MPs including Mike Wood, right, celebrate taking every seat in Dudley

"Firstly we are going to get Brexit done next month which will allow us to look at some of the big issues and top priorities that have come up time and again on the doorstep, improving hospitals and schools, tackling crime, recruiting police and getting a grip of antisocial behaviour.

"I don't think anyone has enjoyed the last two and a half years. People don't go into public service just to be arguing and not actually do anything.

"We all see things that desperately need to be sorted. Brexit most immediately and improvement of public services and measures to safeguard the economy."

Labour return

Labour MPs returned to the Commons in depleted numbers after the election left the party with its smallest total since 1935.

Warley's John Spellar is now one of only three Black Country Labour MPs.

Despite the position the party finds itself Mr Spellar believes it is not impossible to turn the situation around and the next election, providing the right leader is chosen.

He said: "The Conservative Government has made a lot of promises and we will see whether they will deliver on those.

"Many people voted Conservative not with enthusiasm but because they were concerned about our leadership.

"With a change in leadership, I hope someone more in touch with the electorate can bring it back.

"Look at 92 when we lost, then a year later we were ahead in the opinion polls and never went behind in 10 years, which included the 1997 election."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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