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Corbynistas are understandably cock-a-hoop, but their enthusiasm may be misplaced. Watson may well have lost his seat next month anyway, but he wouldn't be quitting so easily unless he expected a nationwide defeat. This is the guy who has endured years of abuse from Corbyn's footsoldiers, but remained steadfast and almost smug about it. He even set up his own centrist group within the party earlier this year. His decision to quit now does not bode well for Labour's chances in the election.
Leave-voting West Bromwich is now guaranteed to have two brand new MPs come Christmas. Both incumbent Remainers have stood down rather than face their voters. Adrian Bailey announced his departure last week from his 69% Leave seat. Both men were expected to face tough challenges from the Tories, with Watson and his 68% Leave seat considered a prize scalp for the Conservatives. UKIP polled big here prior to the EU referendum, so the presence of the Brexit Party could potentially throw a spanner in the works next month.
West Bromwich East general election 2017
Tom Watson (Lab) 22,664 (58.0%) +7.8%
Emma Crane (Con) 14,951 (38.2%) +13.3%
Karen Trench (Lib Dem) 625 (1.6%) -0.4%
John Macefield (Green) 533 (1.4%) -0.3%
Colin Rankine (Ind) 325 (0.8%) New
West Bromwich West general election 2017
Adrian Bailey (Lab) 18,789 (52.1%) +4.7%
Andrew Hardie (Con) 14,329 (39.7%) +15.8%
Star Anderton (UKIP) 2,320 (6.4%) -18.8%
Flo Clucas (Lib Dem) 333 (0.9%) -0.6%
Robert Buckman (Green) 323 (0.9%) -1.1%