Dudley is used to getting plenty of attention at election time. While Dudley Council is held with a big Conservative majority (a third of the seats are up for election on May 6). But none of the four Parliamentary constituencies within its remit are Conservatives. All four are held by labour and all four are key Conservative targets. Dudley South (Target 73), Dudley North (Target 103), Halesowen and Rowley Regis (Target 88) and Stourbridge (Target 25.)
In Dudley South the last time the relevant six wards were contested, five went to the Conservatives, one to Labour. That must mean it is looking good for Conservative candidate Chris Kelly.
In Dudley North there are also six relevant wards – three went to the Conservatives, two to Labour and one to UKIP. The Labour wards had big majorities and UKIP polled strongly in several wards. So a tougher fight for our candidate Graeme Brown.Will UKIP manage to get enough votes to save the constituency for Labour?
Halesowen and Rowley Regis has seven relevant wards (three of them come under Sandwell Council.) Six of them are Conservatives, one Labour. A good enough base, surely to send our man James Morris, that champion of localism to power in Westminster – so that he can then help send power at Westminster back to Halesowen and Rowley Regis.
In Stourbridge of the seven relevant wards, five went Conservative last time while two went to Labour. Both the wards Labour hung on to were by fairly narrow margins. It looks pretty promising for our excellent candidate Margot James.
Dudley has a low Council Tax compared to the rest of the West Midlands. This year it set a 1.5% increase. Council leader Cllr Anne Millward has identified £34 million of savings over the next three years.