After the sudden death of Labour MP Jack Dromey in January, a by-election is being held on Thursday 3rd March 2022 to determine who will now occupy the seat in the House of Commons.
The late Jack Dromey, who was married to fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman, had held the seat for almost 12 years, before tragically dying of heart failure on the 7th of January. Dromey was a longstanding supporter of worker’s rights, having been a lifelong trade unionist and former Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, before being elected as a Labour MP in 2010.
Labour has held the seat of Birmingham Erdington since 1945, and is favourite to win Thursday’s by-election. However, past controversial comments from Labour’s candidate have led several Tory MPs to call upon Keir Starmer to suspend Labour’s candidate.
Labour’s candidate, Paulette Hamilton, a former nurse and a Birmingham Councillor, is the frontrunner to win the seat, assisted by the decrease in Conservative support following the Partygate scandal. Labour, though still behind, is catching up with the Conservative party on polls asking “can the party be trusted to run the economy?”, and is ahead of the Conservative party on polls asking “can the party deal with the cost of living crisis?”.
Erdington is one of the poorer areas of the country, with the proportion of people claiming unemployment benefits being twice the national average, and the percentage of children growing up in poverty being 31%, compared to the national average of 19%.
Hamilton said of the area:
“Even though people say it’s a poor area, the community spirit and what people are doing is absolutely phenomenal.”
However, footage has emerged of a discussion by a group called “Black Unity” from 2015, at which Hamilton spoke. In the footage, Hamilton says:
“So, you talk about the bullets or the votes. I’m not sure. Although I believe in the votes, and I believe in our right to use that vote or destroy that vote.”
“I’m not sure we will get what we really deserve in this country using the votes. But I don’t know if we are a strong enough group to get what we want to get if we have an uprising.”
She went on to talk about an alleged Muslim “Trojan horse”. Seemingly presenting a conspiracy about Muslims entering the city, taking control of school boards and “infiltrating” the school with their beliefs.
She then accused Birmingham’s Muslim councillors and MPs of not really helping the city.
“We have large numbers of Muslim councillors, we’ve got two MPs in this city, that look after the needs – well, they don’t, but they are supposed to – look after the needs of a community.”
The Labour party has not yet responded to the footage.
The Conservative candidate is another Erdington councillor, Robert Alden, who has contested the seat at the last 4 elections.
The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Reform Party are also fielding candidates for the by-election. Also present are the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition party; The Good Knight Sir NosDa will be representing the Monster Raving Loony Party.