SIR Gavin Williamson has been chosen as the Tory candidate for the new constituency of Stone, Great Wyrley and Penkridge.

The existing Stone seat is currently held by Sir Bill Cash, who announced earlier this month that he will be retiring at the next election after 40 years in Parliament.

Sir Gavin currently holds the South Staffordshire seat, the most northern part of which overlaps with the new seat he will be fighting to win at the next election.

Forthcoming boundary changes, which come into effect at the next general election, mean the new constituency will take in part of the current Stone constituency along with part of the Stafford constituency and part of Sir Gavin’s existing South Staffordshire constituency.

His selection for Stone, Great Wyrley and Penkridge will leave a gap for a Tory candidate in the South Staffordshire constituency which will be geographically smaller than its predecessor but will now include Kingswinford.

Sir Gavin Williamson says he is honoured to follow in the footsteps of Sir Bill Cash.

Sir Gavin said: “I feel incredibly honoured to be selected as the first-ever Conservative candidate to stand for Stone, Great Wyrley and Penkridge.

“Having represented half of the seat over the last 13 years, my priority will be making sure I’m championing the issues of all communities – in Stone, Great Wyrley and Penkridge and all the many villages right across the constituency – making sure their voice is heard in Westminster, making sure local issues are dealt with and doing everything I can to represent local interests.”

Keele University senior politics lecturer Philip Catney said it was a shrewd move for Sir Gavin, as the seat is considered a safe bet for a Tory candidate.

He said: “If I was a Conservative MP it’s a seat I’d certainly want to have because you’re guaranteed a job for life – probably more so than South Staffordshire – so it’s a good seat and a good fit for him.

“Stone is a good idea for a youngish politician who wants to make sure he’s got a secure seat if there are a bad couple of elections for the Conservatives.”

Explaining his reasons for standing in the new seat, Sir Gavin said: “Half my seat went north and half of my seat went south.

“It’s an area where there’s a large part of the constituency that I’ve represented for a long time.

“The whole constituency is a very beautiful place, and it’s really important to have a strong voice in Westminster for the whole constituency – obviously it’s a place I’m incredibly passionate about.

“I will very much do everything within my power to both win the seat and be a strong advocate for the whole constituency – north, east, south and west – in the north in Stone, in the south in Great Wyrley and all areas in between.”

He also praised Sir Bill Cash who was recently honoured for his services to politics.

Sir Gavin added: “Sir Bill has been an amazing voice, firstly when he represented the Stafford constituency and later when he represented the Stone constituency.

“I’ve had the great privilege, over the last 13 years, of working with him and I know what a diligent and passionate member of parliament he has been.

“It was great to see him recently honoured with such a significant honour as a companion of honour and it’s a real testament to his hard work.

“I very much hope I would continue in that vein, as those who I have represented over the last 13 years would hopefully vouch for that I have done with them.”