BLACK Country MPs Margot James and Mike Wood say they are “surprised” but raring to go following the Prime Minister’s decision to call a snap election.
PM Theresa May announced today that there will be a General Election on Thursday June 8 – providing the plan achieves support in the House of Commons which will hold a vote tomorrow (Wednesday April 19).
Ms James, Conservative MP for Stourbridge, said she was “very surprised” by the shock announcement and she added: “I did not see it coming but we will be ready for it in Stourbridge. I welcome it and I’m up for it.”
She said there are “a number of areas the Prime Minister wants to consolidate that were not in our manifesto” and she believes a mandate is the best way forward for Mrs May to proceed in pursuing those areas “which are quite different from the previous Cameron-led government”.
Dudley South MP Mike Wood - who is still recovering from a near fatal bout of sepsis – was also taken aback by the PM’s anouncement and he said: “It could have come at a better time – it’s certainly taken us all by surprise.
“But I can understand why Theresa May has decided on this. With difficult Brexit negotiations ahead – it makes sense to get a clear mandate to support a strong British position before those negotiations hit the nitty gritty detail later this year.”
He said he will be contesting his Dudley South seat, which he has held since 2015, “assuming the Dudley South Conservatives adopt me as their candidate”.
And he added: “I love election campaigns and I look forward to meeting as many local people as possible over the next few weeks.
"I hope once again they put their trust in me to carry on representing the area.”
Mr Wood said he believes the biggest decider in the unexpected race to the polls will be “the question of leadership and who we want leading Britain through Brexit negotiations and on the international stage”.
He said voters will need to think carefully and ask themselves: “Do we think Theresa May is the best person to lead Britain or do we want to hand the keys to number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn?”.
Labour MP Ian Austin has announced he intends to fight to keep the Dudley North seat he has held since 2005.
He said: “I grew up in Dudley, I live in the borough and I love the place. Being Dudley’s MP is a huge privilege and I’ll be asking people in Dudley to let me continue working hard for them.
“This election is about who should represent people from Dudley in Parliament. I’ve worked hard to stand up for folk in Dudley and I always will – whether people in Westminster like it or not.
“I’ll be asking local people to support my plans to make Dudley a strong town again, with strong industries, a strong community and strong public services.”
However Conservative councillor Les Jones, who emerged as the main threat to Mr Austin during the 2015 election, said he believed the Labour MP would be in a "vulnerable position" if he had to fight for his seat again.
Cllr Jones was drafted in to fight for the Tories when Afzal Amin resigned his candidacy for the key marginal seat amid accusations he was plotting with the English Defence League.
Despite hitting the campaign trail later than his rivals, cllr Jones bagged 11,704 votes from a 62.8 per cent turn out and he has not ruled out standing again, saying: "If I was invited to go for it then I probably would."
He said he believed the sitting MP was in a "vulnerable position" due to the national Labour party picture, adding that the scandal surrounding Afzal Amin and the "considerable threat from UKIP" two years ago, led to him "getting a much larger majority than he had the previous election".