WITH just a week to go before voters go to the polls - all three party leaders in Dudley have told the News they are "confident" of success on election day.

The Conservatives welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May to the borough on Monday to give their campaign to hang onto Dudley Council a big push as polling day, Thursday May 3, nears.

Mrs May visited thriving furniture firm Boss Design in Dudley - hot on the heels of Chancellor Philip Hammond's stop off at Westfield Sportscars, Kingswinford, on April 4.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, also visited Dudley's Lister Road waste depot on April 11 and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called into Brierley Hill to talk about the Midland Metro extension in March.

Meanwhile - keen to take back council control - Labour group members have welcomed party leader Jeremy Corbyn to the borough twice in recent weeks.

As well as promising to put more police back on the streets and to do more to help the homeless - Mr Corbyn spoke in confident terms about hoping to see the authority returned to Labour's control when he visited both Stourbridge and Wall Heath.

The Conservatives seized control of Dudley Council from Labour last May with help from UKIP councillors - and Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the authority, was trumpeting their achievements during the Prime Minister's visit.

He said: "It's clear that since we took control we've made a difference. People talked about free parking and said it couldn't happen, two months the council pushed through free parking. We haven't made any cuts to adult social care - which is unheard of. We've put money back into green care and other front line services - we're making that difference. Bed-blocking at Russells Hall Hospital has gone down. We're showing with good governance and a good political steer you can make a difference to people's lives."

But - with five out of six UKIP members fighting to hang onto their council seats in this election - the 28-strong Dudley Tories have their work cut out to make the gains they need to achieve overall control.

Cllr Harley told the News it would be "possibly wrong to make any predictions" on how the election may play out but, in good spirits this week, he said: "We have a good field of candidates - youthful, young candidates who are very energetic and enthusiastic, mixed with experienced candidates, who have been working really hard in lots of wards."

And he added: "I think we could have a few shocks on May 3."

Dudley UKIP group leader, Councillor Paul Brothwood, however, claimed "Tory support has collapsed" and he added: "Theresa May is so unpopular."

He said he was "very confident" - adding: "It seems to be neck and neck with UKIP and Labour - certainly in Wordsley where we doubled our vote in 2016. Not only are we hoping to hold seats - we could gain a couple."

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley Labour Group, however, thinks UKIP's chances of success are slim and he told the News: "We're entering the last week quietly confident of gaining control but not taking anything for granted."

The Labour Party, which currently has 35 seats out of 72 on the council, only needs to win two to take back control and cllr Lowe said: "Certainly in Stourbridge we've had record numbers of volunteers knocking on doors, delivering leaflets. It's closer to a Parliamentary campaign we are managing to run rather than a local election campaign."

But he said the result would all boil down to turn out on the night "and who is encouraged to go out and cast their vote".