Labour wins Birmingham Erdington by-election

Labour has held Birmingham Erdington in the by-election triggered by the sudden death of frontbencher Jack Dromey.

Former nurse and mother-of-five Paulette Hamilton, 59, won with a majority of 3,266 but the by-election failed to inspire voters, with a turnout of just 27%.

She picked up 9,413 votes, ahead of Conservative candidate Robert Alden with 6,147.

Her victory makes her the first black MP elected from a Birmingham constituency.

Ms Hamilton, whose father died just as her campaign got under way, thanked her Labour colleagues for their support “through four storms” and her bereavement.

The newly elected MP campaigning with Sir Keir Starmer© PA The newly elected MP campaigning with Sir Keir Starmer

“I’d also like to say a special thank you to Kier Starmer for his endless support – even when my dad died, they were there, they wrapped me in cotton wool, and they supported me, and my dad isn’t even buried yet but they were there when I was crying,” she said.

‘I am delighted’

Ms Hamilton added: “I never thought I’d be running to be an MP, but the fact that I am now not only the MP for Erdington but the first black woman – the first woman to ever get the position – I am delighted and I am still pinching myself.

Jack Dromey speaking in the House of Commons© PA Jack Dromey speaking in the House of Commons

“I really don’t believe it at this moment in time.”

Responding to her victory, a Labour spokesman said: “In Paulette, the people of Birmingham Erdington have elected a great local champion. We’re delighted that this campaign has seen the first black MP elected from a Birmingham constituency.

“Increasing our vote share is a huge achievement and shows that with Keir Starmer’s leadership, Labour is regaining the trust of voters in our traditional ‘red wall’ seats in the Midlands after the disastrous results of the 2019 general election.

Jack Dromey and Harriet Harman at the Houses of Parliament in 1982© PA Jack Dromey and Harriet Harman at the Houses of Parliament in 1982

“Even in a traditionally low turnout seat with a well-known Tory candidate, we’ve seen a swing to Labour with voters backing Keir Starmer’s contract for the British people based on security, prosperity and respect for all.”

A lifelong trade unionist

Trade union stalwart Mr Dromey held the seat for Labour in 2019 with a majority of 3,601.

He was married to the former Labour cabinet minister and interim party leader Harriet Harman.

During tributes to Mr Dromey by MPs of all parties in the Commons on 2 February, Ms Harman spoke of “the total shock of his sudden death from heart failure” on 7 January.

Mr Dromey, who died in his Birmingham flat aged 73, was a lifelong trade unionist who rose to deputy general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, now part of the giant Unite union, in 2003.

He was treasurer of the Labour Party during the “cash for honours” allegations when Tony Blair was prime minister, and then became MP for Erdington at the 2010 general election.

He held a number of shadow ministerial posts, and as shadow immigration minister he spoke in a Commons debate on the problems facing Afghan immigrants to the UK on the day before his death.

A constituency in the northeast of Birmingham, Erdington has been held by Labour since it was created in 1974, although with just slim three-figure majorities in Margaret Thatcher’s election victories in 1979 and 1983.

One of 10 parliamentary constituencies in Birmingham, Erdington is also the seat in the city that voted Leave by the largest margin, 63% to 37%, in the 2016 European Union referendum.

Source: News.sky.com

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