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All posts by Helen Lewis

The 650 | 9th May 2017

View from Birmingham Yardley: Can a Labour star defend her seat?

Jess Phillips is annoyed about the election. In her constituency office in the Birmingham suburb of Acocks Green, her staff have just told her that she can’t announce new funds for a local community centre because parliament has been dissolved.

“This is an example of the strong, stable leadership you’ve heard about,” she snorts, reeling off a list of casework she can no longer tackle as an MP. One of her 400 open cases is that of a child taken overseas. “Just because Theresa May wants an election, your child doesn’t stop being kidnapped.”

Her constituents seem hardly more enthused about the prospect of a vote on 8 June. “I don’t know nothing,” the guy behind the counter of a phone shop on Acocks Green high street tells me. Michael, who runs a flower stall, tells me he last voted 19 years ago. “I’m not interested, pet.”

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