Labour appears on course to hold Birmingham Erdington but turnout just 27%

Votes are being counted in the by-election triggered by the death of Jack Dromey.

04 March 2022

Labour appears on course to hold Birmingham Erdington in the by-election triggered by the death of frontbencher Jack Dromey.

Labour held Birmingham Erdington in 2019 with a majority of 3,601 votes and anything but a victory for Sir Keir Starmer’s party would be a blow for his leadership.

Paulette Hamilton is contesting the seat for Labour, while her fellow city councillor Robert Alden is vying to become the first Tory MP there since 1936.

Birmingham Erdington
Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton (Phil Barnett/PA)

Miserable weather on Thursday contributed to a turnout of just 27%, indicating that the contest has failed to capture the public imagination in the constituency.

A Tory source said Boris Johnson’s party was expecting a “respectable showing” but there was “no chance of a win”.

Labour insiders suggested the result would be “tight” but they expected to have the votes needed.

Some 17,016 ballots were cast, in an electorate of 62,996.

There had been concerns in the Labour camp that low turnout could increase the chances of an upset, while candidates from smaller parties could erode their share of the vote.

There have been close results in the past, with the Tories losing by just 231 votes in 1983, when leader Margaret Thatcher was at the peak of her powers after the Falklands War.

But Mr Johnson’s party has been struggling in the national polls as the Prime Minister was battered by allegations of parties in Downing Street breaching coronavirus rules.

Mr Dromey, a shadow minister married to Labour grandee Harriet Harman, died at the age of 73 in his flat in the constituency in January.

The former leading trade unionist had represented Birmingham Erdington since 2010.

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