Birmingham & Black Country

Stourbridge MP Margot James to stand down

Margot James MP Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Margot James has been the MP for Stourbridge since 2010

Former minister Margot James has announced she will not stand in next month's general election.

The Stourbridge MP was one of 21 Conservative rebels who were removed from the parliamentary party after going against the government to back a bill designed to stop a no-deal Brexit.

She was reinstated last week and said her decision to step down was due to a lack of support from the local party.

First elected in 2010, Ms James increased her majority in 2017.

However, as an active campaigner for Remain, she was at odds with her constituency with 64% of voters in the seat backing Brexit.

In her resignation letter, Ms James said she had welcomed the return of the whip last week and initially wanted to continue to serve as an MP.

But, she wrote: "I realised that I needed to bring the three-and-a-half-year conflict between the result of the referendum in my constituency, and my own view of where the future interests of the country lie to a close," she wrote.

Ms James served as a minister in both the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Despite her views on Brexit, she said since 2016 she had backed her constituents' position in key votes, although consistently voting against no-deal options.

Ms James voted in favour of Theresa May's deal three times, which would have seen the UK leave the EU in March, and more recently backed Boris Johnson's own deal with the EU.

However, Ms James said she preferred Ms May's deal and feared the current one could lead to Scottish independence by giving Northern Ireland preferential status and access to the EU single market.

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