VOTERS go to the polls tomorrow (Thursday May 22) for an election which will give Dudley politicians plenty to ponder.
People in the borough will be asked to have their say on who sits on Dudley Council and in the European Parliament.
Politicians from all sides will be looking for clues about the mood of the electorate with less than 12 months to go until the general election.
A third of the 72 seats on Dudley Council will be up for grabs and, because there were no elections last year, the poll will be the first opportunity for borough voters to deliver their verdict after Labour won control in 2012.
People will also be asked to vote for the party they want to represent them in Europe and winners will be chosen from party lists of candidates to fill the seven euro seats available in the West Midlands constituency.
Euro-sceptic party UKIP are being tipped to do well and with enough support Sedgley’s Bill Etheridge, who is third on the party’s list, could become an MEP.
The Green Party have a slim chance of winning a seat which would put their top candidate, Netherton ward councillor Will Duckworth, into Europe.
UKIP’s national campaign has been dogged by controversy amid claims from the party they are being smeared by their rivals and the mainstream media.
Dean Perks, UKIP candidate for the Dudley Council ward of Upper Gornal and Woodsetton, who also plans to run in the general election, faced calls to stand down after it emerged he o more than £10,000 in VAT.
Mr Perks, who runs property renovations company Changing Rooms, failed in a three year battle with HM Revenue and Customs after they ruled he was VAT registered when he thought he was not.
The Labour leader of Sandwell Council, cllr Darren Cooper, urged the UKIP candidate to immediately withdraw from the parliamentary and council races.
Mr Perks claimed the episode was down to him being misinformed by his accountant and not trying to avoid tax.
He said: "I was never guilty of not paying VAT, I have never refused to pay a bill back in my life. I am paying back what I owe now.
"I was misinformed by my accountant who told me I was deregistered when I was in fact not, so when I had a tax inspection a couple of years after they clearly wanted their chunk of my earnings.
He added: "I have now received a lump sum from my accountant concerning the matter, and I am paying back what I owe."
"It is an obvious case of attacking the candidate because Labour know they are going to get a kicking at the polls."