BLACK Country MPs have expressed their regret that long-serving Conservative councillors were swept away in the local election as the tide turned against the Tories.

Stourbridge Tory MP Margot James (covering Dudley Wood) said she was “sorry” to see councillors such as Adrian Turner (Lye), Nic Barlow (Wollaston) and Colin Banks (Amblecote) ousted by Labour candidates.

While Dudley South Conservative MP Chris Kelly said Tory councillors Sue Greenaway (Brockmoor and Pensnett), Denise Harley (Kingswinford North and Wall Heath) and Geoff Southall (Wordsley) “worked tirelessly for residents and did not deserve to lose their seats”.

Ms James said: “I am very sorry that so many good and hardworking councillors lost their seats.

“A combination of apathy, dissatisfaction with the Government nationally, and a feeling that politicians should just get on with the job were all factors in my view.”

She said she did not think the results reflected “any dissatisfaction with the performance of Dudley Council” which she said had managed to make budget cuts of £35m “in ways that have protected frontline services”.

Likewise Mr Kelly added: “I think last week’s results are a reflection on residents’ frustrations with the Government in London.

“Time and again over the past few weeks whilst talking to voters on their doorsteps, local people have raised issues from the tax changes in the budget, the failure to deport Abu Qatada, the furore over Jeremy Hunt and the Murdochs and the Government’s handling of the potential fuel strike.

“Dudley residents clearly want the Government in Westminster to raise its game and to govern effectively and competently.

“They want the Prime Minister to focus on fixing the economic mess left by Labour rather than on peripheral issues such as House of Lords reform.”

Mr Kelly said it was clear Conservative voters stayed at home or voted for UKIP “to send a message to the Government to get a grip and start doing better”.

He added: “I share many of their frustrations and - as a Eurosceptic Conservative MP who voted for an EU referendum - I will not be shy in sharing the views of the people who elected me with Government Ministers in Westminster over the next few weeks.”