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General election: Why the Conservatives could take two Birmingham seats from Labour

Sitting Labour MP Gisela Stuart is thought to be planning to stand down

Labour could suffer devastating defeats in Birmingham in the June 8 general election.

Opinion polls suggest Conservatives could take two Birmingham seats from Labour, Birmingham Edgbaston and Birmingham Northfield.

The potential disaster for Labour is a projection, based on an exclusive analysis of recent opinion polls by the Trinity Mirror date unit.

But Birmingham Edgbaston could be particularly hard to Labour to defend - because it is thought that the sitting MP in this seats is planning to stand down.

Gisela Stuart, who has represented Birmingham Edgbaston since 1997 as a Labour MP, is thought to be planning to retire.

She chaired the official Vote Leave campaign in the EU referendum, and won a historic victory. Nothing is going to top that if she continues in Parliament.

Mrs Stuart also comes from a different Labour Party tradition to party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

She would not make any announcement before informing her constituency party.

Richard Burden, Northfield's sitting Labour MP, has confirmed he will stand again, subject to the formality of approval by his local party executive.

A third Birmingham seat currently held by Labour, Birmingham Erdington, could also be vulnerable to the Conservatives. Sitting Labour MP Jack Dromey has confirmed he will definitely stand again in this seat.

SKY NEWS Theresa May announces for General Election in June 8.
Theresa May announces for General Election in June 8.

Winning more Birmingham seats would provide a huge boost for Theresa May’s claim that the Conservatives represent the whole country. It’s one of the few big cities, other than London, where the Tories are strong, and she will hope that winning here could provide a springboard for victories in big cities in the north of England in the future.

Conservatives currently hold one Birmingham seat, Sutton Coldfield.

And our analysis suggests Tories could also make gains in the Black Country, after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for an early election.

Conservatives could snatch include Dudley North, Walsall North and Wolverhampton South West from Labour.

Coventry South and Coventry North, could also switch from Labour to the Conservatives.

Our average of ten recent opinion polls puts the Conservatives on 42.8 per cent, Labour on 26.7 per cent, the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent and UKIP on 9.6 per cent.

Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart
Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart

Assuming a uniform swing, with voters switching from Labour to Conservative at roughly the same rate across the country, the Tories would gain 44 seats from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

And it would leave Theresa May with a majority of 106. The Government currently has a working majority of 17.

If Labour was on course to win and form a government then it would expect to win in constituencies seats such as Dudley South, Nuneaton and North Warwickshire - all seats that Labour used to hold but which currently have Conservative MPs.

At the last election, in 2015, these were high-profile, battleground seats.

But Conservative leader Mrs May has called an early general election because she thinks her party can make gains due to the unpopularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Liberal Democrats hope this election will revive their fortunes, after they won just eight seats in the 2015 general election.

Birmingham Mail Northfield MP Richard Burden
Northfield MP Richard Burden

They will put up a fight in the hope of winning in Solihull, a seat they held from 2005 to 2015. Conservatives took Solihull in 2015.

Labour politicians were scathing about Mrs May’s decision to hold an early general election, after she repeatedly insisted there should be no poll until 2020.

Steve McCabe, a Birmingham Labour MP since 1997, said: “It shows that her word is worthless.

“And she’s calling an election now because she has some real bad news that’s she hiding from us.

“We know the NHS, schools and the Brexit talks are in chaos, and the economy is in trouble.

“So we think she must have had some further bad news which means she can’t afford to wait.”

Halesowen Conservative MP James Morris MP said: “This election will add stability and security to the lives of people in Halesowen &a Rowley Regis. What Britain needs now is clarity, and a Prime Minister with a strong mandate to lead us out of the European Union.

“Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats want to try and stall our exit. I am determined to ensure that the will of people here in Halesowen & Rowley Regis is fulfilled - and a General Election is a way of doing that.”

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