Express & Star

Ex Ukip man backs Tory candidate in election battle

A former leading member of Ukip has endorsed a Black Country Conservative candidate at next month's election.


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Bill Etheridge, a strong supporter of Nigel Farage who served as Ukip's MEP in the West Midlands from 2014 to 2019, urged people in Dudley to vote for Marco Longhi.

Mr Etheridge, who was also for a time a member of Mr Farage's Brexit Party before returning to Ukip, warned that people in Dudley would face a new danger after the election on July 4, when Labour had won a huge majority.

He warned people not to vote for 'shallow fake Brexiteers'.

"I don't really have a horse in this race," he said in a video message.

"I'm still a member of Ukip, and not a member of any of the political parties that are standing.

"But I do care about one thing. For years and years we campaigned for Brexit, and when that wonderful referendum was won, we in Dudley led the way with a fantastic result showing that we wanted independence, national sovereignty and freedom.

"Now there is a danger. There is going to be an enormous Labour majority after this election, and we in Dudley need someone who can stand up for our values and what we believe in, someone who will stand strong for Brexit, who will stand strong against mass immigration, and who will stand strong against asylum centres in Dudley."

Mr Etheridge, who also served as a councillor in Sedgley ward on Dudley Council, said Mr Longhi was the man to defend those values.

He warned that other candidates standing on a eurosceptic ticket were only increasing the likelihood of Labour taking the seat.

"We need to get behind Marco Longhi," he added.

"He is the man who has stood for our values.

"Don't let him be swept away in this tide. And don't be taken in by any shallow, fake Brexiteers."