Voters head to polls for by-election triggered by death of Labour MP

Politics

Voters are going to the polls today in Birmingham Erdington in a parliamentary by-election triggered by the sudden death of Labour Party and trade union stalwart Jack Dromey.

Mr Dromey, who was married to the former Labour cabinet minister and interim party leader Harriet Harman, held the seat with a majority of 3,601 in the 2019 general election.

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.

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

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.

More on Birmingham

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.

Labour leader Keir Starmer in the campaign office during a visit to Erdington in Birmingham to support Labour's by-election candidate Paulette Hamilton and speak about the Respect pillar of his contract with the British people. Picture date: Wednesday February 16, 2022.
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Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton, campaigning with Sir Keir Starmer

Defending the seat for Labour is Paulette Hamilton, 59, a former nurse and mother-of-five who is cabinet member for health and social care on Labour-controlled Birmingham city council.

The Conservative candidate is Robert Alden, who is a councillor for Erdington and leader of the Tory group on the city council and has fought the seat in the past four general elections.

The 12 candidates also include Dave Nellist, who was Militant Tendency MP for Coventry South from 1983 to 1992, when he was expelled from the Labour Party. He is standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Reform Party – formerly Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party – are also standing in the by-election, along with three minor parties and three independents.

Birmingham Erdington by-election candidates

Robert Alden – Conservative Party

David Bishop – Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party

Jack Brookes – Reform Party

Lee Dargue – Liberal Democrats

Paulette Hamilton – Labour Party

Siobhan Harper-Nunes – Green Party

Clifton Holmes – Independent

Michael Lutwyche – Independent

Mel Mbondiah – Christian Peoples Alliance

Dave Nellist – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Thomas O’Rourke – Independent

The Good Knight Sir NosDa – The Official Monster Raving Loony Party

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