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News | Published November 28 2019

Election Interview: Melanie Dudley, Labour candidate for Dudley North

In the run up to December's General Election, our election correspondent Joshua Sandiford will be creating profiles of key marginal constituencies around the country, combining the key statistics with interviews with the major candidates. In this article, Joshua interviews Melanie Dudley, Labour candidate for Dudley North

Melanie Dudley trained as a teacher before entering local government and worked her way up to become the assistant chief executive of Sandwell Council. 

She's now running to be the MP for Dudley North, a constituency with a wafer-thin majority of just 22.

Speaking to The Parliamentary Review, she described the start of the campaign as "absolutely mad", with Jeremy Corbyn visiting her constituency after launching the Labour manifesto last week.

The election will be hard-fought between Dudley and Conservative candidate Marco Longhi: in 2017, two recounts were necessary before it was possible to declare Ian Austin the winner.

Austin, who has now stood down, made headlines after resigning from the Labour party and blaming Corbyn for “creating a culture of extremism and intolerance”.

He is now supporting Conservative candidates and has urged voters not to make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister.

Despite this, Melanie is in good spirits and told The Parliamentary Review she believed she could win.

How is the campaign going so far and what are people saying to you on the doorstep?

There is no enthusiasm for a Conservative government. 

People aren't specifically talking about Brexit but they are asking why politicians can't agree. We are getting some positive responses and perhaps more so than I might have hoped. It's close to Christmas and the time of year is a problem. 

Parliament has also been paralysed for a while and we've had a local MP [Ian Austin] who I'm not quite sure where he has been coming from with some of his comments.

He certainly wasn't looking after the people of Dudley North who need well-paid jobs and their rights as workers to be protected. He has gone around telling people to vote against [Labour] and it's absolutely not explicable to the people of Dudley North who need good jobs, decent working conditions and opportunities.

Parliament has also been paralysed for a while and we've had a local MP [Ian Austin] who I'm not quite sure where he has been coming from with some of his comments.

Dudley North is on a knife-edge, how confident are you that you can win the seat and will Ian Austin's comments affect your chances?

Ian has come up a lot less than I might have expected him to. 

People are very focused on getting through life and having as good a life as they possibly can in Dudley North. 

I do genuinely believe that I can win on the 12th of December, I'm not saying it's going to be by loads but I do believe I'll win.

I do genuinely believe that I can win on the 12th of December, I'm not saying it's going to be by loads but I do believe I'll win.

What are your top priorities if you do become the MP for Dudley North?

We need to have more police on the streets because people do not feel as safe as they should in Dudley North, they're very concerned about their own safety and for the safety of their property. 

[People] want more money to go into schools so that children get the best possible education with the best possible facilities. And there certainly needs to be more money in the NHS, people are working so hard in the NHS and they can't keep up. 

Those are my three things, it's about more police, more money for schools and the NHS being a world-beater that is on sale to nobody.

And there certainly needs to be more money in the NHS, people are working so hard in the NHS and they can't keep up. 

What did you do before running to be an MP?

I qualified as a teacher and I lectured in economics and then I moved into local government working in educational administration.

I have worked in local government with local politicians on local issues for 30 years, rising to be the assistant chief executive with responsibility for everything that is delivered locally. I had to wait until I'd finished that work before I became politically active myself but I've been at the sharp end of policy development and delivering services to people and being out there with people and doing things to help them.

I have worked in local government with local politicians on local issues for 30 years, rising to be the assistant chief executive with responsibility for everything that is delivered locally.

What's your favourite thing about your constituency?

I was born and bought up here and I love the people. I was born in Dudley and you can imagine how much ribbing I got as a child for having the name of Dudley, but I've always been proud of it and kept it throughout my life. You can not get better people than those in Dudley North, you just can't.

I was born in Dudley and you can imagine how much ribbing I got as a child for having the name of Dudley, but I've always been proud of it and kept it throughout my life. 

And finally, what's your message to the people of Dudley North?

In Dudley North, what we have is wonderful people and what we need to do is give them great opportunities and great prospects so that they can have the best possible lives.

The Parliamentary Review will be publishing candidate and constituency profiles weekly throughout the election campaign.

 

 


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Authored by

Joshua Sandiford
Junior Political Editor
@theparlreview
November 28 2019

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