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General Election seats to watch: West Midlands

The region that could prove fertile ground for the Conservatives.

The River Severn at Ironbridge, near Telford (Nick Potts/PA)
The River Severn at Ironbridge, near Telford (Nick Potts/PA)

By Ian Jones, PA

The West Midlands is a Conservative-Labour battleground, and one where Labour may end up doing most of the battling.

The party has a string of seats across the region that are vulnerable to the Tories.

By contrast there are only a few constituencies that Labour could realistically hope to gain from the Conservatives, even on a large swing.

At the top of the Tories’ list of targets are the seats of Dudley North and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Both would change hands on a swing of under 1%.

(PA graphic)

Their chances of taking Dudley North will not have been harmed by the actions of the constituency’s retiring MP Ian Austin, who won the seat for Labour at the last election but who has encouraged voters at this election to vote Conservative.

Mr Austin represented Dudley North for Labour since 2005, but left the party earlier this year in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, spending the remainder of his time in parliament sitting as an independent.

His majority in 2017 was just 22.

In Newcastle-under-Lyme, meanwhile, Labour is defending a majority of only 30.

Further down the Tories’ target list are two seats in Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton South West and Wolverhampton North East, and a pair of seats in Stoke: Stoke-on-Trent North and Stoke-on-Trent Central.

They also have their sights on Warwick & Leamington and Birmingham Northfield.

Some of these seats need big swings to change hands, 6.3% in the case of Wolverhampton North East, but all would turn blue if the Conservatives do as well as some recent polls have suggested.

For its part, Labour has two seats that it would gain from the Tories on a swing of below 1%: Stoke-on-Trent South and Telford.

If the likes of Worcester (2.5%) and Walsall North (3.5%) turn red, then Labour will be having a very good election indeed.



From Belfast Telegraph