Labour MPs choose not to defend West Midlands marginals

Two Labour MPs have chosen not to stand for re-election in their marginal constituencies in June’s general elections.

Gisela Stuart, who has been MP for Edgbaston since Tony Blair’s first election victory in 1997, and Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris will not defend their seats.

Stuart, a prominent figure in the Vote Leave campaign despite her German origins, told her constituency party “it is time to stand down”.

She said: “After 22 years of campaigning and 20 years of having had the privilege of being the MP for this diverse, forever surprising and wonderful marginal seat I know when it is time to stand down and pass on the baton.

“Together we have done amazing things; things we never expected when I became the first “Labour gain” of the Labour 1997 landslide as well as the first ever Labour MP for Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton.

“We won local battles, brought people together, challenged established assumptions about voters (and sometimes our own) and won elections against Tories that we didn’t think were possible. But together we did it . We are Labour and our values are Labour.”

Marris, who was first elected in 2001 before tasting defeat in 2010, was re-elected in 2015 with a majority of just 801.

“After much soul-searching, I have decided not to stand in the 2017 General Election,” he said.

“At my age and after 11 years in Parliament, I have decided that it is time to step down and support a new Labour candidate for the city.”