Constituency profile: Dudley North

Labour won the constituency of Dudley North in 2017 by a majority of just 22.

The winning candidate was Ian Austin: an MP with a track record for pulling off wafer-thin victories.

Having become MP for the seat in 2005, in 2010 Austin held Dudley North with a majority of only 649.

He held on again in 2015, increasing his majority to 4,181.

In 2017 two recounts were necessary before Austin was declared the winner.

With his new majority of 22, he was now MP for one of the most marginal seats in the country.

The 2019 election will be a very different contest, however.

POLITICS Election Dudley
POLITICS Election Dudley

Mr Austin is not standing. He left the Labour Party earlier this year in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and spent the rest of his time in Parliament sitting as an independent.

He has also encouraged his constituents to cast their vote at this election for the Conservatives.

Labour is fielding a brand new candidate, Melanie Dudley, who appeared alongside Jeremy Corbyn at a campaign event in the constituency on Thursday.

Ms Dudley is up against three other candidates, from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens.

The Conservatives will be hoping that Ian Austin’s intervention will boost their chances of victory.

The party has never had an MP for Dudley North since the seat was created in 1997.

Meanwhile, Labour will be hoping there is enough residual support in the constituency to see them over the line.

But with a swing of only 0.03% needed for the seat to change hands, they face a huge battle to cling on.