AS polling day draws closer, a veteran Stourbridge Liberal Democrat campaigner has told how be believes the party is on the way back up in Dudley.

Chris Bramall, secretary of Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen Lib Dems, says he is confidently looking forward to the May 2 local election which will see the party fighting for a comeback in 13 wards across the borough.

He said: “I believe our party is on the way back locally. In 2016 we only fought four wards in the Dudley Council elections. In 2018 we fought 12 of the 24 wards. Our borough-wide vote went up by 66 per cent, and our vote in Norton ward went up by 33 per cent.

“This year we are fighting 13 wards. We have been recruiting new members, and we are delighted that a number of our candidates are recent recruits to the party."

The party's key focus this time round is the Norton ward where Mr Bramall believes it will be a battle between the Tories and Lib Dems.

Mr Bramall said: "Norton is one of the wards where the Lib Dems formerly held all three council seats. People will remember the days when the Liberal Democrats were a powerful party locally, and how hard Liberal Democrat councillors work for their communities."

The party's candidate in Norton this time round is Elaine Sheppard - a teacher at Elmfield School in Love Lane - who led the Crystal Clear campaign to try to fight off a proposal for fluoridation of Stourbridge’s water as well as a campaign to rid the borough's parks and public spaces of dog poo.

Mr Bramall said: "People may remember Elaine’s campaign on dog poo, in which all the heaps of dog poo in Swan Pool Park were mysteriously flagged with yellow flags. This shocked Dudley Council and led to a dog poo ban and, more importantly led to all us dog owners taking much more care about our dogs’ toilet habits."

He added: "If elected, Elaine will be an outstanding councillor. She is standing as the Liberal Democrat Focus Team candidate, and is calling for the formation of a Stourbridge Town Council, to meet in the former Council House in Mary Stevens Park and to be a true Stourbridge voice on local issues.

"Elaine faces opposition from five other candidates (Conservative, Labour, UKIP, Green, and Heather Rogers - Independent), but we believe the real contest in Norton will be between Elaine and the Conservatives.”