DUDLEY'S Conservative general election candidate, Marco Longhi, says he considered defecting to Reform UK – for about a tenth of a second.

The outspoken Tory, who won the traditionally Labour dominated seat of Dudley North in 2019, has not been influenced by Nigel Farage’s decision to take control of the right-leaning party which takes a tough stance in immigration.

Mr Longhi has placed tough treatment of illegal immigrants, including sending new arrivals straight back to France, at the heart of his campaign but has not been tempted to shift sides.

He said: “I considered everything, I considered this for about a tenth of a second.

“I’m a true Conservative and I’m staying true to the voters who put their faith in me in 2019, no way am I changing.”

Mr Longhi compares his brand of Conservatism with Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill, he added: “I’m probably a much stronger Brexiteer than many Reform candidates.”

While Mr Longhi stops short of calling on Reform UK to remove candidates from seats where there is a right-leaning Conservative candidate, he does question why the party is choosing to stand in every parliamentary seat.

Mr Longhi said: “By all means stand, it’s a democracy, I’m saying as a result of standing in seats like Dudley, where there are politicians who are right for places with true Conservative values, you are taking them out because you are reducing their number of votes and allowing socialists in through the back door.”

He argues the result of Reform UK challenging right-wing Conservatives will be fewer Tory MPs after the election and the possibility of a ‘massive’ Labour majority in the House of Commons.

Back in the 2019 general election The Brexit Party led by Mr Farage (which later became Reform UK) dropped out of 317 Conservative-held seats to avoid the possibility of letting in Liberal Democrat candidates.

However as leader of Reform UK, Mr Farage says he feels betrayed by the Tories over immigration and intends to ‘take over’ to make Reform UK the leading opposition party to Labour.