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Labour 'red wall' obliterated, voters blame Corbyn and Brexit

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on December 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:37s

Labour 'red wall' obliterated, voters blame Corbyn and Brexit

Electing its first Conservative Member of Parliament since it became two constituencies in 1974, West Bromwich in the Midlands is emblematic of the pro-Brexit shock in Labour heartlands which handed Boris Johnson a majority government on Friday.

Francis Maguire reports.

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Labour 'red wall' obliterated, voters blame Corbyn and Brexit

West Bromwich was long part of the Labour party's so-called 'red wall'... But not any more.

The former coal mining town in the English Midlands had voted Labour since 1974.

On Friday (December 13)...it went Conservative.

Its industrial past made it a Labour stronghold - but West Bromwich is emblematic of how Brexit has shattered old party loyalties in the UK.

It voted 70% to Leave in 2016... (SOUNDBITE) (English) WEST BROMWICH RESIDENT AND LIFELONG LABOUR SUPPORTER WHO VOTED CONSERVATIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE DECEMBER ELECTION AND VOTED TO LEAVE THE EU, 60-YEAR-OLD CHARITY WORKER, GLORIA DOWNING, SAYING: "Well I voted Boris because I believe that the people three and a half years ago who voted to leave, they should have respected that, and they didn't so I voted for Conservative.

But I've always voted for Labour, as my mum and dad did but this time it's Boris." 78 year-old Leave supporter Tony Williams didn't vote Labour for the first time ever.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WEST BROMWICH RESIDENT AND LIFELONG LABOUR VOTER WHO VOTED FOR AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE ELECTION, RETIRED 78-YEAR-OLD TONY WILLIAMS, SAYING: "Because we voted for Brexit and they've ignored it.

That should have been dealt with three years ago that should." Many former Labour voters also summed up why they changed their support in just two words: (SOUNDBITE) (English) WEST BROMWICH RESIDENT WHO USED TO VOTE LABOUR BUT MORE RECENTLY HAS VOTED CONSERVATIVE AND VOTED TO LEAVE THE EU, COLIN WILLIAMS, SAYING (ASKED WHY LABOUR DID BADLY IN THE ELECTION): "Jeremy Corbyn.

What he stood for.

There's only one bloke that stopped it: Jeremy Corbyn.

Nobody likes him." (SOUNDBITE) (English) WEST BROMWICH RESIDENT AND LIFELONG LABOUR SUPPORTER WHO VOTED CONSERVATIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE DECEMBER ELECTION AND VOTED TO LEAVE THE EU, 56-YEAR-OLD VAN DRIVER KEVIN WILLIAMS, SAYING: "Would have been Labour, I'm a typical working class bloke, that's it." REPORTER ASKING: "This time how did you vote?" WILLIAMS SAYING: "Conservative." REPORTER ASKING: "Why was that?" WILLIAMS SAYING: "Corbyn.

Plain and simple." There were some voters in West Bromwich who did stick with Labour.

But it wasn't enough to stop the Conservatives gaining both seats in the town - and a big majority nationwide.

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