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Labour holds Birmingham Erdington as Paulette Hamilton becomes the city’s first black MP

The former nurse and mum-of-five emerged victorious despite last-minute fears low turnout in the Red Wall seat could favour the Tories

Labour leader Keir Starmer with candidate Paulette Hamilton

Labour has won the Birmingham Erdington by-election, making Paulette Hamilton the city’s first Black MP.

The former nurse and mum-of-five was elected with 9,413 votes while Tory Robert Alden got 6,147 votes.

Ms Hamilton, a city councillor, won with a majority of 3,266 but the by-election failed to inspire voters, with a turnout of just 27%.

The by-election in the West Midlands seat was triggered by the death of well-liked Labour frontbencher Jack Dromey in January.

In her victory speech, Ms Hamilton paid tribute to her late predecessor, and said: “I am absolutely delighted – exhausted but delighted.”

Thanking her family and campaign team, she also gave thanks to police and council staff for the “smooth-running” of the count operation, adding: “I know it’s a lot of work that often goes unmentioned, so thank you for your endless professionalism and commitment to the democratic process.

“Something I think we all treasure even more following the events in Europe.”

Ms Hamilton said the team had campaigned through four named storms in recent weeks and also spoke of her father, who died just weeks before her election.

She said: “But 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”.

Labour figures had shared last-minute fears that low turnout in the Red Wall seat could favour the Tories.

A Labour Party spokesperson 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.

“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.”

Dave Nellist, of the TUSC, came third with 360 votes, followed by Jack Brookes of Reform, with 293, the Greens’ Siobhan Harper-Nunes (236) and Lib Dem Lee Dargue with 173.

Ms Hamilton’s campaign had been hit after controversial comments she made in 2015 about postal voting and “an uprising” were unearthed by GB News.

She was recorded as saying: “The postal vote is the way some of our ethnic minority communities actually lock it down. Because what they do is whole families just have the postal vote.

“Whoever comes in says hold this one, tick, postal vote goes back, and in one household we can have eight votes and it’s locked down.”

She also said: “You talk about the bullet or the vote, I’m not sure, although I believe in the vote, and I believe in our right to use that vote or destroy that vote, I’m not sure that we will get what we really deserve in this country using the vote.

“But I don’t know if we are a strong enough group to get what we want to get if we have an uprising. I think that we will be quashed in such a way that we would lose a generation of our young people. So I am very torn.”

Labour backed its candidate, however, saying: “Paulette Hamilton is arguing for better representation for the black community in public life, and as she is campaigning to become Birmingham’s first black MP she has a point.”

The comments are likely to come under further scrutiny in the days ahead, however.

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