"WE just drifted apart on the Brexit situation," Stourbridge Conservative Association has admitted in the wake of Stourbridge MP Margot James's resignation.

"She was a great MP, she had our full support for nine-and-a-half years," Roger Spencer, chairman of the Association, told the News.

"As long as she was voting for Brexit we didn't mind her personal views, where we drifted apart was when she voted against the Government on the 'no deal' Brexit - we found that was unacceptable. Stourbridge voted in the referendum and in the May election for Brexit."

He said members had explained ahead of the key vote in September that it "would not go down well" if Ms James failed to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his bid to deliver Brexit and that after she lost the whip after joining Tory rebels to try to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal the Association had held a farewell party for her.

Mr Spencer added: "We didn't expert her to stand again, we didn't expect she would get the whip back."

Ms James, who was the Government's Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, however, did have the whip restored last Tuesday (October 29) after she gave her support to Mr Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

She confessed she "was not banking on" winning the nomination to allow her to fight to retain her seat, which she won back in 2010, but she told how she "very much" hoped to be selected to stand again.

However - just four days later - she announced she would not be seeking re-election and she would cease to be an MP following the dissolution of Parliament today (Wednesday November 6) as the country braces itself for a December 12 General Election.

In her resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson she said Brexit had become "the lens through which every Conservative candidate's credentials are judged".

She said was had been "fortunate to have considerable support" in her  constituency but added: "Sadly the opposite is the case among too many members of the Stourbridge Conservative Association."

She told how she had wanted to continue in Parliament but she went on: "It was only after a period of reflection that I realised that I needed to bring the three-and-a-half year conflict between the result of the referendum in my constituency, and my own view of where the future interests of the country lie to a close."

Stourbridge Conservative Association said Ms James initially submitted an application for re-adoption but she later confirmed she was withdrawing from the process.

In her final newsletter to constituents, the former businesswoman turned politician said it had been "a huge privilege, and a great pleasure, to have had the opportunity to represent such a wonderful part of our country".

She thanked all those who supported her and added: "I will miss the many individuals and organisations who have made my work both possible and worthwhile."

Stourbridge Conservative Association is expected to confirm the party's new Parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge at its meeting tomorrow night (Thursday November 7).

Mr Spencer promised to install a "Brexit candidate that can help to deliver Brexit".