A theatre nurse and union activist has won a marginal seat in the West Midlands at last week’s general election.
As a result of her win, Eleanor Smith has become the new Labour MP for Wolverhampton South West. She also becomes the West Midlands’ first African Caribbean MP.
“I’m honoured to be chosen by you to be your voice in Westminster”
She held onto the seat for Labour with 20,899 votes, a majority of 2,185, followed by the Conservative candidate Paul Uppal who received 18,714 votes.
Ms Smith, who works at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, was president of the union Unison from June 2011 to June 2012 – the first black woman to hold the post.
She was unveiled on 29 April as the new Labour parliamentary candidate for the seat, which was once held by Enoch Powell.
“Huge thank you to all voters of Wolverhampton South West who voted for me I’m honoured to be chosen by you to be your voice in Westminster,” she said via the social media site Twitter on 10 June.
In another tweet following the election result, she pledged to “fight for the NHS in parliament” and accused prime minister Theresa May for having “utter contempt” for the NHS.
Last September, Ms Smith addressed the Trades Union Congress in Brighton on the government’s controversial decision to scrap the bursary for student nurses and midwives.
Abolishing the NHS bursary for healthcare students in England when there is a nursing and midwifery shortage was a “massively retrograde step”, she told delegates.
Ms Smith will join three former nurses who retained their seats as Conservative MPs.
Former cancer nurse and Lewes MP Maria Caulfield was returned with an increased majority of 5,508.
Both Anne Milton, Guildford MP and former junior health minister, and Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, were returned but with smaller majorities.