Dudley News:

PRIME Minister Theresa May was out pounding the streets and rallying the troops in Dudley this morning as the General Election campaign got under way in earnest.

Seeking a strong mandate for Brexit negotiations - the PM made her first visit of the campaign a stop off in the Leave heartland in the Black Country.

After knocking on doors in Sedgley - with councillor Les Jones who is hoping to represent Dudley North in the forthcoming Parliamentary election - Mrs May gave a rousing speech to Conservative Party members and journalists at Netherton Conservative Club.

She told the packed room: "Every vote will be a vote for a strong and stable leadership to take this country through Brexit and beyond, it's only the Conservatives who can provide that strong and stable government."

She stressed she's "not complacent" and told party members: "We need to go out and fight for every vote.

"The Black Country is a very important battleground for the election. Every vote that's cast here is going to be important for the future of our country."

Cllr Les Jones (pictured above) was chuffed to have Prime Ministerial support on his door knocking endeavours as he awaits official confirmation of his candidacy for Dudley North and he said:"I think she realises how important the West Midlands is going to be in this campaign."

Likewise - West Midlands Mayor hopeful Andy Street (Cons) said it had been "brilliant" to have the PM with him on the door step just 11 days away from the mayoral election on May 4.

Dudley News:

Mike Wood, who is also hoping to be reselected to stand in Dudley South, was also delighted to have the PM in his constituency and he said he believes it will be an "easy choice" for voters choosing between Theresa May and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn at the General Election on June 8.

He said: "Theresa May is the only party leader in this election with the skills and experience to lead our country."

Stourbridge MP Margot James said the Prime Minister's decision to make the Black Country the location for her first campaign rally of the election shows "Dudley, the Black Country and the West Midlands really matter to her - not just because we have got a lot of marginal seats that we need to win but because we're at the heart of manufacturing, industry and job creation".

She added: "She's very much in touch with the concerns of working people in our region."

The Prime Minister's visit follows swiftly after Labour Party leader Tom Watson stopped off in Dudley on Thursday to help launch Ian Austin's election campaign.

Mr Austin has pledged to make education one of his top priorities and he is urging people in Dudley North to not just consider national issues but to vote for the best person on the ballot who can represent the area.