ELECTION NEWS: MP hopefuls and party representatives battle it out at the only all candidate Erdington by-election hustings

By Erdington Local election news team

On Sunday, 27 February, candidates running in the Birmingham Erdington by-election got the chance to battle it out on the first election hustings – held at the GRS Lions Club, Church Road, Erdington.

Sitting in front of a packed house, with all 120 seats filled with politically engaged locals, nine of the twelve MP hopefuls and party representatives answered questions asked by Erdington residents and registered voters.

Organised by Erdington Local and Churches Together, the event was the only Erdington by-election hustings to invite all candidates to attend, with others refusing to include independent or ‘fringe’ candidates.

The Erdington Local and Churches Together hustings were chaired by Rev. Emma Sykes from St. Barnabas Church and Ed King, editor of Erdington Local.

All but the Monster Raving Loony Party and the Militant Bus Pass Elvis Party had representation, although stand ins were sent by both the Labour Party and the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA). Tommy O’Rouke (The Peaky Blinders / Independent) withdrew last minute due to food poisoning.

Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton was unable to attend due to family arrangements, needing that Sunday to help organise her father’s funeral – who died unexpectedly at the start of her campaign. Preet Gill MP (Labour, Edgbaston) stood in for Paulette Hamilton, with the Labour Party confirming her availability on Friday, 25 February.

The CPA’s candidate, Mel Mbondiah, is a pastor in Walsall and “Sunday is a difficult day for her”, according to her campaign agent and CPA leader, Sid Corlde – despite having told Erdington Local during their campaigning on Erdington High Street the day before the party were worried about questions over LGBT issues.

Originally planned for Saturday, 26 February, the date was moved to the Sunday as no suitable venue was available on the day before, with many candidates and others involved in the event also unable to make the Saturday.

The first to formally decline, there had been no response from the Labour Party about either date as other candidates confirmed Sunday as the preferred option. Whilst the CPA showed an initial interest in both dates, the party pulled their candidate at 10:30pm the day before the hustings.

Neither the Labour Party nor the CPA requested a different day or time in order for their candidate to attend, with both parties opting to send a party representative as a stand in.

After a brief introduction, where the CPA stand in, Simon Brookes, awkwardly opened by admitting his own party’s candidate should have attended the hustings herself, the candidates and representatives took questions from selected local community groups and institutions.

Co-founder of the Erdington Community Volunteers, Jo Bull, wanted those hoping to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament to explain how they would increase mental health provision and the availability of immediate care.

Finding herself “very much out of my comfort zone” standing in a room full of people and political candidates, Jo’s question garnered a supportive round of applause from the room and a volley of answers from the people on stage – with Lee Dargue (Lib Dems) recalling his own struggles with depression and highlighting the absurdity of metal health support ‘by appointment only’.

The Crisis Café at the Beechcroft Centre on Slade Road, a well-known and used service for local residents struggling with mental health issues, will still only see people pre-arranged and during limited opening hours.

Next to stand up was Stephen Hughes, Chair of Short Heath Fields Trust (SHFT) whose two year fiercely fought battle against Birmingham City Council resulted in a suspension of plans to build an estate on the Perry Common/Stockland Green parkland.

Following a question to all candidates about their commitment to “save and protect green spaces” such as Short Heath Playing Fields, Mr Hughes wanted clarification from Ms Gill – standing in for Paulette Hamilton – what “credence” her answers had on behalf of the absentee Labour candidate.

Determined to get this point nailed down, Mr Hughes highlighted how “Ms Hamilton repeatedly has refused to meet with our group; she is the only candidate not to come down (to Short Heath playing fields) and answer questions.”

Ms Gill responded by saying Paulette Hamilton would take over the good work done by the recently deceased Jack Dromey MP in saving the fields, which immediately irked audience members and Mr Hughes alike, who simply responded: “…it wasn’t Jack Dromey who saved the playing fields it was Short Heath Fields Trust and our community that stopped the houses being built.”

And then Ms Gill uttered perhaps the most important sentence of the night, she said: “Paulette (Hamilton) wants you to know she will get a commitment from the cabinet not to build on the playing fields.”

A statement which would mean a victory for Short Heath Playing Fields Trust, Councillor Robert Alden (Conservative) scented an open goal and ran in saying: “Councillor (Paulette) Hamilton had voted for houses to be built on the land several times as she is part of the cabinet which wanted the estate built.

“She has voted against Erdington at every opportunity.”

Mr Hughes was delighted with the commitment, he agreed: “We saved the playing fields, but we need the cabinet to say they will never build on the land.

“Preet Gill said she was speaking on behalf of Paulette Hamilton and that promise to get a commitment from the cabinet is now on the public record, I just wish she (Hamilton) would have said it herself.”

Trying to cram in as much as possible, each candidate had been allocated one minute to answer questions.

But as the evening wore on answers got longer and strayed further from the point, in some cases totally ignoring the original question.

After an initial question about what the candidates would do to improve the outside perception of Kingstanding – which got lost in translation for most of the panel, apart from independent candidate Michael Lutwyche and the Conservative’s Robert Alden – Gary Byrne, Vice Principal of Kings Rise Academy, asked what each candidate would do to help him improve and “tweak” his curriculum internally to benefit the children in Kingstanding.

With candidates proffering a volley of education based analysis and rhetoric, Mr Byrne became so frustrated at the Green candidate, Siobhan Harper-Nunes, who said she had sent her children to “alternative education”, he eventually sat after declaring the panel were “just not answering the question.”

Claire Westmacott, a volunteer from Bethany Foodbank, asked what the candidates would do for people leaving hospital care without food – but only after making the point she too had asked Paulette Hamilton (Labour) to visit her organisation but had been met with silence.

Jack Brookes (Reform UK) jumped on the question to ask his own to the audience, and the world beyond: “Do you want to freeze to death or starve to death? We need to start fracking; we have 50 years of gas under our feet.”

An ecologically questionable stance unpopular with the crowd, Mr Brookes’ comment also prompted Lee Dargue to demand “…where?”, before looking at the floor as if there was a gas field under the Church Road venue.

Having the timing and confidence of a stand up comedian, the Liberal Democrat also earned a hearty laugh from the audience by saying: “this is the cleanest mic in history” when handed the freshly cleaned microphone, which was being constantly wiped with special sanitiser throughout the evening.

However, it was not just jokes coming from Mr Darge, whose often clear and direct responses earned favour with the Erdington crowd – in an area historically underrepresented by the Liberal Democrats. With the local elections only months away, it led many in the room to wonder how the traditionally placed ‘third party’ will fare on 5 May.

Mr Lutwyche, who also grew more and more popular with the crowd for his straight talking and fiercely local approach, got a round of applause for saying nothing sickened him more than seeing a politician posing in front of a foodbank.

However, as the issue rolled down the panel, none of the candidates succeeded in giving a proper solution to the original question about those leaving hospital going home to starve.

Pastor Rasaq Ibrahim (Redeemed Christian Church of God, Erdington) asked what the candidates would do to stop street crime on Erdington High Street. In September 2021, Pastor Rasaq helped bring the nationwide Street Pastors service to the area – resulting in significant success on Erdington High Street and filling some of the gap left by cuts to community policing.

Several of the politicians reached into their bag of statistics to bolster their arguments but could often be contradicted by each others ‘facts’ and figures. Labour’s complaint Birmingham has lost 1,000 policemen under the Conservative Government was met with a Conservative statistic they had put hundreds of coppers back on the beat.

And with a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner and a Conservative Home Office, both main parties could easily blame each other for rising crime.

However, one statistic truly ridiculed by the audience was the assertion from Christian Peoples Alliance representative Simon Clarke, that 94% of prisoners were criminals without fathers; when heckled about the number he retorted the statistics included the American prison system.

But the issue so many people wanted answering was left until last, and Stockland Green resident Chris, who lives in an area blighted by HMOs and badly managed exempt accommodation, delivered it perfectly.

He wanted to know how the Conservatives and Labour would solve the problem when several of their councillors in Birmingham are HMO landlords themselves.

Prompting Robert Alden (Conservatives) and Lee Dargue (Lib Dems) to publicly clarify neither they nor their family had profited from HMOs, the question got a rowdy shout out from one audience member saying that other candidates vying to be Erdington’s next MP could not say the same.

However, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate, Dave Nellist, who had joined in the hustings via Zoom as he was self-isolating and recovering from Covid, saved his best interjection till last.

In response to the question about HMOs, and Ms Gill’s declaration the Labour run Local Authority was having its hands tied by a Conservative Government, Mr Nellist offered actual examples of what could be done:

Mr Nellist said: “Go to Newham, a Labour run council in London, and see how they have solved the HMO problem by compulsory purchasing these properties… but Birmingham Council will not do this, why not?”

Proper old school politics, answering a question with an actual answer, the room applauded Mr Nellist ardently.

As the clock raced past the allotted two hours debating time, the chairs of the Erdington by-election hustings began to call the event to an end.

A full and engaged room, crammed with both pertinent points and empty rhetoric, the debate over Edrington’s future had raged – with every seat in the house taken by a concerned local resident looking for the best candidate to represent them in Westminster.

As people were asked to leave the venue with the spirit of democracy and not politically tribal anger, the last words spoken through a microphone surmised what had brought all these people out on a Sunday evening, with one of the evening’s chairs reminding the room: “…and don’t forget to vote on Thursday.”

Polling day for the Birmingham Erdington Parliamentary by-election is on Thursday, 3 March.

The 12 candidates contesting the seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

OPINION: “Conservative candidate Robert Alden is key to our plans,” says Secretary of State for Levelling Up

As the Birmingham Erdington by-election heats up, and voters explore all the candidates and manifestos to decide who is right to represent Erdington in Westminster, the Rt Honourable Michael Gove MP – Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – throws his weight behind the Conservative candidate, Robert Alden.

Polling day for the Birmingham Erdington Parliamentary by-election is on Thursday, 3 March.

Words by Rt Honourable Michael Gove MP

While talent is spread evenly across the UK, opportunity is not. In too many communities there’s a feeling that the only way to get on is to get out.

This needs to change — and it needs to change for good. That’s why our government’s defining mission is to level up this country.

We want opportunity to reach talent wherever it exists, investment to move wherever it’s needed. We don’t want to slice the pie in a different way; we want to grow the pie for everyone.

So levelling up is a team effort. And local champions like Robert Alden, the Conservative candidate at Erdington’s by-election, are key to this team. Let me explain.

Together with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and local MPs like Gary Sambrook, the government has already started to level up Birmingham — and not just the city centre.

Backed by hundreds of millions of pounds in government funding, the Commonwealth Games are helping to create jobs and drive investment to Birmingham. The regeneration of Perry Barr will be a lasting legacy in itself, restoring the community and transforming facilities for residents.

HS2 will put Birmingham right at the heart of our national high-speed rail network. The long-term benefits will see world-class businesses set up in the region and expand the local economy, while the short-term benefits are already being felt in the form of new jobs, including a thousand extra jobs to construct the new Curzon Street in the city centre.

So levelling up isn’t something that may or may not take place in the future; it’s happening, it’s happening right now, and at the risk of repeating myself, it’s happening across the West Midlands.

We’re regenerating the former MG Rover factory in Longbridge, a development that will create thousands of good jobs with decent pay. We’re recruiting hundreds of new police officers for the West Midlands.

And all of this is just the beginning. We have so much more planned, including here in Erdington. But to supercharge our efforts, we need a local team ready to work with us.

That’s why Conservative candidate Robert Alden is key to our plans.

If Robert Alden is elected as Erdington’s next MP, you’ll have a local champion making the case for Erdington directly to Cabinet members like me.

This is what Erdington really needs — someone willing to stand up for the area and make sure residents are heard.

To see what kind of MP Robert will be, take a look at his record as a local councillor. Over the last sixteen years, Robert has been a force to be reckoned with.

He has been a vocal proponent for Levelling Up Funding to transform Edington’s high street, and I’m currently working with him to get this bid over the line.

I’m thrilled that Robert has invited me to visit Erdington and see the opportunities for government investment myself. This is the kind of get-up-and-go that every village, town and city needs for our mission to work.

And if any readers are wondering how they can play a part in levelling up Erdington, I say this: at the Erdington by-election, vote for the person you believe can work with me and my team to secure funding and make things happen. To my mind, that person is Robert Alden.

For more on the Rt Honourable Michael Gove MP visit www.michaelgove.com

For more on Robert Alden and the Erdington Conservatives visit www.erdingtonconservatives.org.uk/


Candidates will be taking questions from the general public at the Birmingham Erdington by-election hustings – held from 6-8pm on Sunday, 27 February, at the GRS Lions Club, Church Road, Erdington.

Click here or on the image above to register for your free ticket – have your voice heard.


ELECTION NEWS: Local residents “disgusted” over “harmful and upsetting” campaign messages from the Christian Peoples Alliance

By Erdington Local election news team

Local residents are “disgusted” about the pro-life and anti LGBT campaign literature being distributed by the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) ahead of the upcoming Birmingham Erdington Parliamentary by-election.

Mel Mbondiah is contesting the seat on behalf of the CPA, where Erdington voters will elect their next Member of Parliament on Thursday, 3 March.

Terri-Anne Coope, who lives on Castle Vale, believes the CPA leaflets currently being posted through letterboxes across the constituency are ”harmful and upsetting”.

After taking to social media to warn other residents about content of the political flyers, Terri-Ann told Erdington Local:

“As a young woman in the area who has had an abortion, I am absolutely disgusted that the Christian People’s Alliance have used the upcoming by election as an excuse to push pro-life, anti LGBT and anti vaxx rhetoric through our doorsteps.

“Not only is the information provided in the leaflet not factual, the messaging in the leaflet is harmful and upsetting to people who may have gone through or are considering an abortion.

“The decision is difficult enough without comment from their peers or from candidates running for MP, and should be a decision we are able to make freely without judgement.

She added: “These views would become more damaging to local women and communities if she (Mel Mbondiah) were to take them to Parliament.

“I am horrified that these views are being pushed through people’s letterboxes without consideration to the situations of the people reading the leaflets.”

After making her initial complaint on social media, Ms Coope got widespread support with many feeling the CPA messaging is ill-informed and divisive. Emma Heys had also received a leaflet from the CPA.

She said: “I had one last week. It reads like it was written by an internet troll trying to get a rise out of people.

“Was entertained by the fact that some of her references were YouTube videos, though. Says everything you need to know really.”

Christian’s People’s Alliance candidate Mel Mbondiah pastors a church in Walsall with her husband and is described on her party’s website and as a social worker in Birmingham.

The CPA was founded in 1999 and now enters candidates into local and General Elections.

Addressing several topics on their campaign literature, including “detailed policies to support marriage” and how “Covid-19 came from a lab in Wuhan”, in the section titled ‘When Life Starts’ the CPA continues to state:

“Science proves a new unique human life starts at conception and has a different DNA than it’s mother, it’s an individual person, not just part of the mother’s body.”

The statement is published next to a picture the flyer claims to be an eight week year old embryo.

In England, Scotland, and Wales, women have the legal right to terminate a pregnancy within the first twenty-four weeks, or beyond that point for valid medical reasons.

The CPA also support the controversial practice of conversion therapy, which the UK Government is trying to outlaw after complaints from LGBT people who have been forced by families to attend courses.

The CPA website states: “We will provide free therapy and counselling for those suffering from ‘gender dysphoria’ to help live a fulfilling life in their natural identity based on their God-given biological sex.

“Similarly, people should be free to obtain counselling of whatever kind they choose (faith based or otherwise) to deal with, and overcome, unwanted same-sex attraction.

“Attempts to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for unwanted same sex attraction are an infringement on the civil liberty of those freely seeking to change their lives in a way that they believe is for the better, and we would always oppose such measures.”

Erdington Local reached out to Mel Mbondiah for comment, but at the time of writing the CPA candidate had not responded.

In a previous profile piece for the Erdington Local newspaper, Mel Mbondiah stated:

“I promise to serve all constituents in Erdington to the best of my ability if I am elected to represent them.”

Polling day for the Birmingham Erdington Parliamentary by-election is on Thursday, 3 March.

The 12 candidates contesting the seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

For more on the Christian Peoples Alliance visit https://cpaparty.net/

ELECTION NEWS: Meet MP candidates at the Birmingham Erdington hustings – Sunday 27 February

By Erdington Local election news team

On Sunday, 27 February, local voters and members of the public can ask questions directly to candidates wanting to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament – at the Birmingham Erdington hustings.

The event will run from 6-8pm, held at the GRS Lions Club on Church Road – just off Erdington High Street.

Tickets are completely free.

To secure your place at the Birmingham Erdington hustings event, you will need to register via the official Eventbrite website – giving an Erdington address.

Please click on any of the images in this article or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/erdington-by-elections-hustings-meet-the-candidates-tickets

Organised by Erdington Local and Churches Together, the Birmingham Erdington hustings event will see over 100 local residents and community campaigners grill the MP hopefuls.

The Birmingham Erdington hustings event will be chaired by Reverend Emma Sykes (St Barnabas) and Erdington Local Editor, Ed King.

Sunday, 27 February will be the first time all candidates have been invited to answer questions together and infornt of the general public, directly addressing the key issues affecting Erdington – such as HMOs and exempt accommodation, protecting green spaces, illegal fly tipping, street crime, healthcare, and the rise in energy prices.

The candidates will each get a chance to answer a series of pre-approved questions within a set time frame, explaining the strategy and policies they would use to help locals if successful elected as Erdington’s next MP.

There will then be an ‘open floor’ section where members of the public can ask further questions about more specific issues from across the community.

If you would like to ask a question to the candidates at the Birmingham Erdington hustings event the please email hustings@erdingtonlocal.com

All candidates running in the Birmingham Erdington by-election were invited to the hustings on Sunday, 27 February.

At the time of writing, the following MP candidates (in alphabetical order) have confirmed they will be attending:

Robert Alden (Conservatives), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green Party), Clifton Holmes (Independent), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Thomas O’Rourke (The Peaky Blinders)

Dave Bishop (Militant Bus Pass Elvis Party) and Mel Mbondiah (Christian Peoples Alliance) have expressed an interest in attending but are unable to confirm.

The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party) has not yet responded.

The only candidate to decline the invitation to attend the Erdington Birmingham hustings on Sunday, 27 February was Paulette Hamilton (Labour) – due to family commitments.

Erdington will elect its next Member of Parliament on Thursday, 3 March.

For more information of the Birmingham Erdington husting event, and to secure your free ticket, please click on any of the images above or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/erdington-by-elections-hustings-meet-the-candidates-tickets

Google Map to the GRS Lions Club, Church Road, Erdington, B24 9BA:

ELECTION NEWS: Labour leader states “Paulette Hamilton is part of the answer” during visit to Erdington High Street

By Erdington Local election news team

On Wednesday, 16 February, Labour leader Keir Starmer boosted his party’s Erdington by-election candidate stating: “Paulette Hamilton is part of the answer” – during a visit to Erdington High Street.

Coming to Birmingham on the last day of his UK tour, Keir Starmer joined Cllr Hamilton for a tour of the high street, discussing its lack of development in recent years and speaking with local business owners about what resources they needed for a more prosperous Erdington.

Keir Starmer told Erdington Local: “What Erdington needs, what the high street needs, is a very strong advocate – somebody who is going to be in Parliament and knows the communities, knows exactly the change that they want, and is going to be a very loud and powerful voice for them (local people).”

Cllr Hamilton also commented: “We have got to continue to fight to ensure that high streets, like Erdington, get the funding they need, to make people in the local community be proud of their area.”

The Labour leader and Erdington MP candidate, who is also the local councillor for the Holyhead Ward, visited Tia’s Locs & Natural Hair – an established hair dresser for little under a decade, just off the high street on York Road.

They also visited the new Wellbeing Hub run by Witton Lodge Community Association, which took over from the former Health and Wellbeing Walk-in Centre.

Transformed into a multi-service facility that delivers advice, guidance, and support around health, employment, housing and finance, the Wellbeing Hub has been a welcome addition to Erdington High Street – which has seen many banks and national brands leave the in recent years.

Keir Starmer applauded local people and their attitudes towards business development.

He said: “There is no lack of ambition, no lack of ideas or talent in Erdington. But what local people want, is a government that matches that ambition.

“Frankly, if you are not prepared to support Erdington High Street, then how can you seriously talk about levelling up.”

Cllr Hamilton added: “When I moved into Erdington it was like a little village… over the years we’ve lost everything. Local people need to see that Government actually value’s local communities.”

The owner of Tia’s Locs & Natural Hair, Moya (Tia’s daughter), age 30, told Erdington Local: “We’ve known Paulette since the shop opened. She’s been one of our longstanding clients for years, always giving us support and just an absolute delight to talk to”.

When Moya was asked about her confidence in Labour’s ability to deliver change for Erdington, she added: “I feel very confident in her (Paulette Hamilton), definitely.”

Mum of two, Donna Hewitt, didn’t share the local business owner’s confidence.

Standing outside the salon as the Labour leader and MP hopeful stopped for press photos, Ms Hewitt told Erdington Local:

“I’m having to travel from a hotel room in Edgbaston to schools in Erdington (Osborne, St Edmund Campion) every morning.

“I don’t have any heating and the Local Authority are doing nothing… they offered me a flat on the 10th floor of a high rise block,  but I’ve got two children – one has a foot disease and the other isn’t steady walking yet.

“I want to see them help people like us. They can stop having their picture taken and come and help us – I feel like I’m being left out.”

Erdington High Street has recently missed out on two multi million pound regeneration initiatives, the Future High Street and Levelling Up funds.

Addressing the lack of government investment into Erdington, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said:

“We want to get rid of business rates, what a difference that would make to the high street, because it would allow businesses to flourish, and other businesses to come in and make their business on the high street to bring it back to the sort of high street it was many years ago.”

In defence of Erdington, he added: “how shocking is it that the government has actually refused the bid twice for the money that’s needed on Erdington High Street.”

Labour MP hopeful, Paulette Hamilton, also criticised the lack of concrete funding in Erdington. She explained:

“We have gone to Government to get the funding for our high street, and on two occasions we have been refused the funding.”

“We need true levelling up. What I want to see with levelling up, is that places like the high street in Erdington, that we get the funding we need to really develop the high street.”

Erdington will elect its next Member of Parliament on Thursday, 3 March.

The 12 candidates contesting the Birmingham Erdington seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

Cllr Paulette Hamilton and Keir Starmer discuss investment into Erdington High Street

For more on Cllr Paulette Hamilton and her campaign to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament visit www.facebook.com/Paulette4Erdington

ELECTION NEWS: Conservative MP candidate Robert Alden will “work closely” with Policing Minister to tackle crime in Erdington

By Erdington Local election news team

Cllr Robert Alden has stated he will “work closely with the (policing) minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel” to ensure people will be safer on the streets of Erdington, during a visit from Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP.

Out on the campaign trail, ahead of the by election on 3 March, local lad and Erdington Ward Councillor Robert Alden brought the Policing Minister to Erdington – to see first hand the problems he wants to tackle in the constituency.

Previous visits have seen Nadhim Zahawi MP (Secretary of State for Education) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency) also join Robert Alden in Erdington.

On the streets of Stockland Green with Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, Cllr Alden was speaking after a walking meeting around Slade Road.

The Conservative MP candidate and Policing Minister were discussing how the Government’s Safer Streets funding is being spent in the area and Robert Alden’s plans to tackle crime.

Safer Streets is a government led initiative that has recently seen £432,000 invested into Stockland Green – addressing issues over street crime and public safety, alongside grant funding for projects by local community groups.

Currently the Ward Councillor for Erdington, if elected MP Robert Alden would be responsible for all areas across the constituency.

If elected, Alden has stated his intention to fight for more police officers on the ground, continued support for the Safe Streets programme, and to challenge planning laws and licensing around HMO and exempt accommodation providers.

Cllr Alden also wants to explore more Public Space Protection Orders like the one recently reinstated in Erdington Town Centre, giving the police extended powers to tackle street level anti social behaviour.

“I was delighted to welcome Kit Malthouse to Erdington constituency today to discuss crime and the impact it is having here,” Robert said.

“We had a constructive talk on how to tackle things like anti-social behaviour and drugs crime which can be a blight on lives around here.

“He was on board with my plans to make the area safer such as lobbying for more police officers here as part of the Government’s 20,000 officer recruitment programme.

“I also told him how I want to work with various organisations and the police here to tackle some of the crime issues in areas like Stockland Green and Kingstanding and expand on the positive impact from the Government-funded Safer Streets scheme around the Slade Road area.

“But ultimately, I can only work closely with the minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel to put my plans into action if I am elected MP next month.

“People in Castle Vale, Erdington and Kingstanding have talked to me about their worries surrounding crime during this campaign and the way my plan to keep streets safe can make a difference.

“I want to be our MP so I will be able to implement my plan, tackle these issues and make sure everyone who lives and works here feels safer on the streets and in their homes,” he added.

Erdington will elect its next Member of Parliament on Thursday, 3 March.

The 12 candidates contesting the Birmingham Erdington seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

For more on Cllr Robert Alden and the Erdington Conservatives visit www.erdingtonconservatives.org.uk

ELECTION NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Erdington by-election set to “liven up” by order of Peaky Blinder Thomas O’Rourke

By Erdington Local election news team

The Erdington by-election is about to “liven up” by order of the Peaky Blinders.

Mirroring the last series of the popular TV show, Peaky Blinders, Thomas O’Rourke, part owner of The Peaky Blinder pub in Dale End, is standing for Parliament – entering the upcoming by-election to become Erdington’s next voice in the House.

Raised and still living in Erdington, Mr O’Rourke has thrown his flat cap into the ring “to liven up the by-election”.

He told: “So, as life-imitates-art-which-imitates-life I’ve decided to give what the rest of the world expects from Birmingham – a Peaky Blinder candidate.”

Mr O’Rourke opened The Peaky Blinder seven years ago, before the BBC series became the international cultural phenomenon it is today. There are now Peaky Blinder themed pubs in Dudley, Southport, and Liverpool, with global TV giant Netflix securing the rights to broadcast the show in the United States and across the world.

Mr O’Rourke tried to buy the original Garrison pub eight years ago before it was turned into an HMO – an ironic twist of fate, as exempt accommodation and rogue HMO landlords are set to be fiercely fought campaign topics on the Erdington by-election hustings.

With The Peaky Blinder and the rest of Dale End being earmarked for demolition, Mr O’Rourke plans to open a new Garrison in the city centre to give Peaky Blinder fans a place to take selfies and learn more about the gang whilst enjoying a drink.

He said: “We welcome people from across the world to The Peaky Blinder and our pub has to be the most photographed building in Brum.”

But thankfully the only razor Mr O’Rourke will be using in his campaign is sharp wit.

He said: “I will give people what they want, slow motion videos of Peaky Blinders turning up to hustings mob-handed to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack.

“People are sick to death of politicians right about now, we all stuck by the rules they created as they partied and laughed at us.

“The whole system is rotten, why would a vote for me be wasted, this country has great tradition of protest votes, and if anywhere is going to elect an MP called Tommy with a Peaky Blinder link then it’s going to be Birmingham.”

He added: “I will say with a smile on my face when I make my maiden Westminster speech – I am here by order of the Peaky Blinders!”

Mr O’Rourke, a 38-year-old father of one, is keeping tight-lipped about his campaign – but did reveal it took him less than an hour to get the ten nominations from voters in Erdington to qualify as a candidate just before the deadline today.

He said: “If people want an idea what I am going to get up to during this by-election then I suggest they watch every series of Peaky Blinders on iPlayer.

“Which probably is the most transparent thing any candidate says in this whole election.”

Peaky Blinders is set to return to our TV screens for the sixth and final series in February.

But in the run up to polling day on Thursday, 3 March, in Erdington the drama will centred around Tommy O’Rouke’s campaign to become the constituency’s next representative in Westminster.

The 12 candidates contesting the Birmingham Erdington seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

To join Tommy O’Rouke’s campaign to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament email ErdingtonTom@gmail.com

ELECTION NEWS: Meet the 12 candidates fighting it out to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament

By Erdington Local election news team

The deadline for any candidate wanting to contest the Erdington seat in the upcoming by-election has now passed, with 12 people officially set to contest the seat on Thursday, 3 March.

First to announce their candidacy was Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Lab, Holyhead).

Cllr Hamilton was selected by local Labour Party members via an online vote on Wednesday, 26 January – beating her party rival, Ashley Bertie, by a considerable margin.

Already attracting support from Labour frontbenchers, Cllr Hamilton has so far been joined on the campaign trail by Deputy Labour Leader Angela Raynor – with more big names from the shadow cabinet rumoured to be landing in Erdington soon.

Running for Erdington’s Member of Parliament for the fifth time, local lad Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) will be back on the MP campaign trail – hoping to put a Conservative in the Erdington seat for the first time since 1945.

Gaining public support from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Conservative big hitters such as Party Co-Chair Oliver Dowden, Robert Alden’s campaign could get a boost from the fact he is a well know local resident involved in many Erdington based initiives and campaigns.

It could also benefit from Cllr Alden’s direct link to the current government, which could see recently failed regeneration bids – such as the Future High Street and Levelling Up fund applicatons – brought back to the table. Although the ongoing issues around Mr Johnson’s premiership could affect public opinion.

The once MP for Coventry South East, Dave Nellist, will be running as the candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Mr Nellist is expected to campaign against Government cuts, austerity measures, and to champion worker’s rights.

Since his announcement, Mr Nellist has already seen a significant response via social media and amongst Erdington Local readers, many of whom have been affected by the announced closure of the GKN Chester Road factory and continuing troubles at JLR Castle Bromwich.

Lee Dargue will be contesting the Erdington seat for the Liberal Democrats, having preciously run for Member of Parliament for Ladywood in the last two general elections.

Siobhan Harper-Nunes will be representing The Green Party – a Birmingham businesswoman and founder of Shakti Women, with an MSc in Urban Regeneration and 20 years professional experience in the city’s third sector.

Whilst local Erdington postman Jack Brookes will be standing for Reform UK, the modern day face of the Brexit Party following the UK’s departure from the European Union last year.

Mr Bookes will be running on a “secure borders” and “cheaper energy” platform, although campaign material being distributed by Reform UK has taken a hard stance on refugees seeking asylum in the UK – citing “the countless boats illegal migrants crossing the channel every day”.

Standing as the first independent to declare their intention for the Erdington seat is Michael Lutwyche – a Pitts Farm Estate resident and founder of the Justice-4-the-21 Birmingham pub bombings campaign.

The Christian People’s Alliance (CRA) will be presenting Mel Mbondiah as their candidate, a Walsall based pastor and longstanding social worker with experience in healthcare across the West Midlands.

Supporting an anti-abortion agenda and the declassification of cannabis, the CRA have never successfully elected a Member of Parliament – but have been previously successful in local government elections, placing representaives in Newham London Borough Council, and Aston-cum-Aughton .

Also standing in the Birmingham Erdington by-election will be Thomas Peter O’Rourke (Independent), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), and The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).

Polling for the Birmingham Erdington by-election is scheduled for Thursday, 3 March.