IT’S been two years since there have been local elections in Dudley where the balance of power remains on a knife-edge.

While voters may be less inclined than usual to head to the polls on May 6 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – there has been no shortage of enthusiasm from the diverse array of candidates fighting to win seats on the council this time round.

While veteran Pedmore and Stourbridge East Tory councillor Les Jones (former leader of the council) and long-serving Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood Labour councillor Bryan Cotterill are getting set to bow out of politics, after 22 years each, there are plenty of aspiring politicians hoping to make their mark in the election.

In Lye community campaigner and trader Gary Farmer is hoping his efforts to clean up the town of litter and fly-tipping will translate into votes on polling day.

Lye-born and bred Mr Farmer, who runs Poshkutz dog grooming parlour, said it has long been his dream to become a councillor for Lye/Stourbridge North "and make a difference". He said: "It's sad to see the way Lye has gone, deteriorated, forgotten by the local elected over the years. We need to bring Lye back."

Mr Farmer is standing as one of two Dudley borough candidates being fielded by the Libertarian Party. Martin Day is the other candidate – standing in Sedgley.

Meanwhile, back in Lye, former Tory councillor Abdul Qadus is hoping to return to the council – as a Liberal Democrat this time round.

Mr Qadus, who was a Tory councillor some years back, said: “The Liberals have never had a candidate in Lye, just as the Conservatives never had a candidate until I stood and won."

Maz Qari is the Labour candidate for Lye as councillor Vanessa Wale is not seeking re-election.

Dave Borley is standing for the Conservatives and Lawrence Rowlett for the Green Party, which is fielding candidates in 11 wards.

Meanwhile, the Black Country Party is fielding five candidates…although the party’s co founder Stuart Henley is standing for the Conservatives this time in Halesowen North.

Steve Edwards, founder of Black Country Day and Facebook page The Only Way is Dudley, is among the BCP hopefuls. He is standing in Brockmoor and Pensnett - against long-serving Labour councillor John Martin and Tory Rebbekah Collins.

UKIP, which once held seven council seats, is putting up just three candidates across Dudley in total.

The Liberal Democrats have 21 candidates including Ryan Priest who is standing in Cradley and Wollescote against long-time Labour councillor Gaye Partridge, Tory candidate Natalie Neale, and Sarah Smith (Black Country Party).

The party has pledged to campaign to save Dudley Hippodrome and Ryan said: “The council has kept campaigners in limbo for long enough, they should make every effort to protect the Hippodrome, and with it our culture and heritage. We need as many Liberal Democrats as possible back on the council."

The Conservatives are hoping to turn staunch Labour ward Brierley Hill blue with candidate Adam Davies, who is battling Labour councillor Serena Craigie, Lib Dem Clare Bramall and Trevor Bunn (Reform UK)...and they're also trying to make enough gains for a majority win of the council.

They have their sights set on Amblecote where Tory campaigner Kamran Razzaq hopes to become a first-time councillor and take the seat held by Labour’s Julie Baines who is standing down.

Young Labour campaigner Ellen Hope-Cobb also has sights on becoming a first-time councillor.

The 26-year-old animal welfare campaigner, whose petition to end the ivory trade was debated in Parliament in 2017, said: "I have been campaigning for change for most of my adult life, whether that be on a local or national level."

Also standing in Amblecote are independent campaigner Jake Woodley, Liberal Democrat Ian Flynn and the Green Party's Adrian Mabe.

In Kingswinford North and Wall Heath community champion Shaz Saleem, founder of The Saleem Foundation, hopes to win a seat on the council after several previous attempts…first for Labour and now for the Conservatives. He said he was "honoured and privileged" to be selected as a candidate and pledged to be "accountable, available and visible" 365 days a year if elected.

Fellow Tory Phil Atkins is also standing as there are two seats up for grabs in the ward, following the departure of Nicola Richards who stepped down in March after becoming an MP at the last General Election.

Adam Woodhall and Richard Lloyd are the Labour candidates for the ward. Council stalwart Dave Tyler (Labour) is stepping down but long-time Lib Dem David Sheppard is also back to fight in another election.

Two seats are also up for grabs in Belle Vale, after Jake Cooper stepped down in March. The candidates are: Daniel Bevan (Cons), Peter Dobb (Cons), Savannah Southorn (Labour), Andrew Tromans (Labour), Marjorie Pounder (Lib Dem) and Bill McComish (Green Party).

In Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood, Labour has selected Brian Roe to fight for Bryan Cotterill's old seat against Rob Clinton (Cons), Richard Priest (Lib Dem), and Jason Sprintall (Greens).

While in Pedmore and Stourbridge East, the Conservatives have selected James Clinton to vie for Les Jones's seat, while Simon Hanson is the Lib Dem choice, Catherine Maguire is standing for the Green Party, Rachel Tudor is Labour's hopeful and former UKIP-er Glen Wilson is standing for the Black Country Party.

Belle Vale councillor Laura Taylor is the Tory candidate in Norton - doing battle against long-time Lib Dem Chris Bramall, Labour's Paul White, Pam Archer (Green Party) and independent Tim Woodley for the seat left vacant by the departure of Conservative turned Labour councillor Mike Attwood.

Labour's Cat Eccles is trying to take Wollaston and Stourbridge Town from the Tories and is fighting against incumbent Conservative Alan Hopwood, while Jon Bramall is the Lib Dem candidate and Maxim Lowe is standing for the Black Country Party, and Andi Mohr is representing the Greens.

In Wordsley, Tory Kerry Lewis hopes to hang onto her seat. Muhammad Ikhlaq is the Labour candidate and Elaine Sheppard is standing for the Lib Dems, while Jennifer Slater-Reid is the Green candidate.

The Tories currently hold 32 seats to Labour's 35 and there are two independent councillors on the authority.

Councillor Patrick Harley, Conservative leader of the council, said: "I think people will support us a week on Thursday. We've got a real good mix of candidates, but we're not taking it for granted, we'll work until the last possible moments. We are hopeful we will return a majority. We're polling so well nationally thanks to the vaccine roll out and we tend to do better in Dudley than the national picture. We've also got a good story to tell locally with the amount of regeneration going on. I think there'll be a few shocks for the Labour Party."

Councillor Qadar Zada, Dudley Labour Group leader, however, said his party "absolutely expects to be in control of the council come May 7".

He said: "What we are hearing on the doorsteps is that local people are fed up of Tory lies, sleaze and cronyism. The recent comment by Boris about thousands of bodies has really hit a nerve with people and they are telling us how disrespectful it is to the thousands of lost lives.

"We are not taking a single vote for granted and our candidates are talking to local people every day, while the Tories are sitting back thinking they can walk in."

He said Labour is campaigning for better pay for nurses and carers, work for those who have lost their jobs, more visible policing, a crackdown on flytipping, action on pot holes and to protect the green belt and he promised: "We will reopen Anchor Lane tip."

He said "The borough deserves ambition and the high streets needs some injection" and added: "The regeneration in the borough started under Labour and during the time of the Tory administration not a single new idea has been developed."

On May 6 polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm and counting for the local elections will take place overnight.

Safety precautions have been put in place to ensure polling stations are Covid-compliant. Voters will need to wear face coverings unless medically exempt and social distancing will be enforced so there may be queues outside during busy times. People are asked to take along their own pencils when attending a polling station to fill in the ballot paper safely.

Kevin O’Keefe, Dudley Council's chief executive and electoral returning officer, said: "After a year off from elections because of the coronavirus restrictions, now is the time for people to make their voices heard as we start our recovery."

Voting will also take place to determine who will become the next West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and the region's mayor.

The full list of nominations, by ward, are:


Ellen Cobb – Labour

Ian Flynn – Liberal Democrats

Adrian Mabe – Green

Kamran Razzaq – Conservative

Jake Woodley – Independent

Belle Vale:

Dainel Bevan – Conservative

Peter Dobb – Conservative

Bill McComish – Green

Marjorie Pounder – Liberal Democrats

Savannah Southern – Labour

Andrew Tromans – Labour

Brierley Hill:

Claire Bramall – Liberal Democrats

Trevor Bunn – Reform UK

Serena Craigie – Labour

Adam Davies – Conservative

Brockmoor & Pensnett:

Rebbekah Collins – Conservative

Steve Edwards – Black Country Party

John Martin – Labour

Castle & Priory:

Margaret Aston – Labour

Liz Tilly – Liberal Democrats

Mark Webb – Conservative

Coseley East:

Lynette Corfield – Conservative

Sue Ridney – Labour

Helen Wimlett – UKIP

Cradley & Wollescote:

Natalie Neale – Conservative

Gaye Partridge – Labour

Ryan Priest – Liberal Democrats

Sarah Smith – Black Country Party


Marian Howard – Labour

Mollie Priest – Liberal Democrats

David Stanley – Conservative

Stuart Turner – Social Democratic Party

Phil Wimlett – UKIP

Halesowen North:

Hilary Bills – Labour

Stuart Henley – Conservative

Andrew McKay – Liberal Democrats

Halesowen South:

Derek Campbell – Liberal Democrats

Nick Gregory – Black Country Party

Donella Russell – Labour

David Vickers – Conservative

James Windridge – Green

Hayley Green & Cradley Heath:

Tony Barnsley – Labour

Ruth Buttery – Conservative

John Payne – Green

Ethan Stafford – Liberal Democrats

Kingswinford North & Wall Heath:

Phil Atkins – Conservative

Richard Lloyd – Labour

Shaz Saleem – Conservative

David Sheppard – Liberal Democrats

Adam Woodhall – Labour

Kingswinford South:

Elizabeth Geeves – Liberal Democrats

Luke Johnson – Conservative

Daniel Round – Labour

Lye & Stourbridge North:

Dave Borley – Conservative

Gary Farmer – Libertarian Party

Abdul Qadus – Liberal Democrats

Maz Qari – Labour

Lawrence Rowlett – Green

Netherton Woodside & St Andrew’s:

Helen Betts-Patel – Labour

Damian Corfield – Conservative

Tracey Gregg – Liberal Democrats

Alexander Wright – Green


Pam Archer – Green

Christopher Bramall – Liberal Democrats

Laura Taylor – Conservative

Paul White – Labour

Tim Woodley – Independent

Pedmore & Stourbridge East:

James Clinton – Conservative

Simon Hanson – Liberal Democrats

Catherine Maguire – Green

Rachel Tudor – Labour

Glen Wilson – Black Country Party

Quarry Bank & Dudley Wood:

Rob Clinton – Conservative

Richard Priest – Liberal Democrats

Brian Roe – Labour

Jason Sprintall – Green


Steve Beardsmore – Labour

Martin Day – Libertarian Party

Michael Evans – Conservative

St James’s:

Asif Ahmed – Labour

Alison Miller – Liberal Democrats

Wayne Sullivan – Conservative

St Thomas’s:

Shaukat Ali – Labour

Nicola Fisher – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Sajid Hanif – Conservative

Sofie Harris – Liberal Democrats

Upper Gornal & Woodsetton:

Keiran Casey – Labour

Rich Colley – UKIP

Andy Griffin – Reform UK

Benjamin Perry – Liberal Democrats

Mark Westwood – Conservative

Wollaston & Stourbridge Town:

Jonathan Bramall – Liberal Democrats

Cat Eccles – Labour

Alan Hopwood – Conservative

Maxim Lowe – Black Country Party

Andi Mohr – Green


Muhammed Ikhlaq – Labour

Kerry Lewis – Conservative

Elaine Sheppard – Liberal Democrats

Jennifer Slater-Reid – Green