DUDLEY'S Conservative general election candidate says the government’s Rwanda policy will work but believes tougher action is needed.

Marco Longhi is aiming to retain his seat in the House of Commons in July’s election with immigration policy at the heart of his campaign.

Mr Longhi believes high levels of immigration are not sustainable and some illegal immigrants are working in the UK as a front for organised crime.

The outspoken Tory said: “I still think there is a chance the Rwanda plan is going to work and, the moment we see planes taking off, what will happen is that those dinghies will stop coming over because they know if you come over to the UK illegally you will go to Rwanda.

“I think boats – the moment they land they should be taken straight back to France.

“We have got illegal immigrants going to Ireland because they can see the Rwanda bill and Ireland is saying ‘we don’t want them’.

“Ireland is the EU, why can’t we send them back to France if they say it’s ok to send them back to the UK.” 

Mr Longhi won Dudley North in 2019’s general election, taking one of the traditionally Labour constituencies dubbed part of the ‘Red Wall’.

After boundary changes Dudley North became just Dudley however the political landscape of the new constituency is almost identical to its predecessor.

He said: “This seat has never been Conservative before in its history, as the opinion polls show I’m very much the underdog.

“My own polling shows I’m about 20 points behind, I am just hopeful that people will recognise the local work I have done.”

The Dudley constituency contains areas of high deprivation where the cost of living crisis is keenly felt.

Mr Longhi believes the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are mostly to blame for rising prices and the Conservative government has ‘by and large’ handled the economy responsibly, he even finds positives from the short time Liz Truss was Prime Minister.

He said: “Liz Truss had some good ideas, the way she went about implementing them was too deep too quickly, there was an element of political naivety. 

“When you are rushed into a position you rely an awful lot on advisers and I’d say she was badly advised.”

With inflation close to the Bank of England target of two per cent Mr Longhi believes people will soon be in a better position with the cost of mortgages, food and fuel coming down.

Dudley Council’s financial situation was described by auditors in January as ‘a serious concern’ but Mr Longhi believes blaming government cuts to local authority grants does not tell the whole story.

He said: “Dudley had a difficult period but it was never in any very real danger, there was an enormous amount of money that the government pumped into Dudley and other local authorities during Covid.

“Special payments for people who had extra difficulties, a lot of the business grants were all pumped through local authorities, there has been perhaps some legacy funding so the government has done an enormous amount.”

If he can turn the political tide and win in Dudley Mr Longhi says one of his main priorities is to make sure the constituency is ready for ‘enormous sums of money’ for transport and road resurfacing.