NEWS: Paulette Hamilton retains the Birmingham Erdington seat for Labour as Conservatives lose their political grip to Reform UK

Words by Erdington Local editorial team

After voters headed to the ballot boxes on Thursday 4 July, Labour held onto the Birmingham Erdington seat in the 2024 General Election – keeping Paulette Hamilton as the constituency MP and following the trend of a decisive Labour victory across the UK.

But even as Labour celebrates one of the largest successes for the party in modern history, the 2024 General Election delivered a shock result in more ways than one.

Again mirroring the national trend, the biggest losers in Erdington were the Conservatives – who were well beaten into third with just 5,402 votes by Reform UK’s 25-year-old candidate Jack Brookes, who secured a remarkable 7,775 tally.

Only 44% of residents turned out to vote, more than 10% fewer than in 2019 and one of the lowest turnouts in the country, further raising concerns about disillusionment with the democratic process and a failure to inspire voters.

Paulette Hamilton, who won the seat in 2022’s by-election sparked by Jack Dromey’s death, clinched the seat with 14,774 votes for Labour with 43% of the vote – retaining her seat in Parliament, but with a drop of 4.7% from 2019.

She tweeted after the declaration: “We did it! Thank you Erdington, Kingstanding, Castle Vale and South Oscott.”

Speaking to Erdington Local earlier today, she added: “I am truly honoured to be re-elected as the MP for Birmingham Erdington, and will continue to work tirelessly for our community, addressing the issues that matter most to you.

“The country has placed its trust in a Labour government, and I look forward to the opportunities and change it will bring. A new dawn breaks for our community and our country.”

Jack Brookes, who won 297 votes during his first tilt at a Parliamentary career during the 2022 Erdington by-election, increased his vote by 2514% – polling 7,775 votes and being thrust into a mandated position of being a serious opposition politician in the Erdington constituency.

Mr Brookes ascent is all the more remarkable after completing his campaign without a team of volunteers, advertising budget, or benefiting from the official Reform UK campaign leaflets – most of which were not delivered like the majority of other West Midlands candidates.

He told Erdington Local: “From 297 votes to 7,775 in two years is unbelievable.

“I am so grateful to Reform UK for giving me the opportunity in the by-election as a young candidate and now my second place will hopefully inspire others in my generation to enter politics.

“My campaign did not have a budget or anyone to help but Nigel Farage entering and electrifying the campaign certainly helped me, I thought I could come second when the election was called but I think Nigel added on at least 2,000 more votes.”

Speaking to Erdington Local after the result, Mr Brookes added: “This election raised so many issues which residents are struggling with. Law and order must be number one, people are sick of rising crime but also of the complete lack of policing.

“In Erdington, if you are burgled – but manage to collect the evidence and find the culprit – you could give it to the police and they will do nothing.

“Secondly, the local economy is just totally broken, business is going to the wall and jobs are hard to find. And the benefits system seems to exist to fund HMOs and deter people from work; I will be looking at job clubs and doing everything to make it worth working.”

Standing as an Independent, Dr Shaukat Ali won 2,250 votes but did not mirror the success similar Independents had in neighbouring Perry Barr which saw veteran MP Khalid Mahmood lose the seat he has held since 2001.

However, Dr Ali’s candidacy did give those disaffected with Sir Keir Starmer’s slow call for a Gaza ceasefire a political home and would explain Labour’s 4.7% drop in the vote.

The collapse of the Conservative vote across the country was replicated in the Birmingham Erdington constituency, where the longstanding Erdington Ward Councillor Robert Alden – and leader of the Birmingham Conservatives – stepped aside in March this year to let a new face, Steve Knee, contest the strong Labour seat.

The Derbyshire businessman convinced just 5,402 people to place a cross against his name, which represents the Conservatives’ vote share haemorrhaging 25.5%.

And just as the Tories national campaign was bedevilled by mistakes, strategic blunders, and damaging gaffes, there have been serious questions raised about the Conservative campaign in Erdington.

Mr Knee stopped posting anything on social media concerning the General Election weeks before polling day, and veteran Tories were dumbfounded to learn the new Parliamentary candidate had openly told members of the public his party thought he had no chance of winning.

Erdington Councillor Robert Alden, who is leader of the Birmingham Conservatives, decided against standing for the party for the sixth time in a row, after suffering five defeats

However, despite failing to win a safe Labour seat several times Councillor Alden has remained a popular local figure and has better name recognition in the constituency than any other candidate who wanted to succeed him wearing the blue rosette.

At the time of writing it is unsure if Cllr Alden will throw his hat in the ring as a potential Parliamentary candidate, in Erdington or elsewhere.

Representing other parties in the 2024 General Election, the Green’s Karen Trench polled 2,452 which earnt her fifth place – 48 votes behind Independent candidate Shaukat Ali.

Ms Trench received, however, over 1,000 more votes on 4 July than the Liberal Democrat candidate and Surrey based barrister Farzana Aslam – who did make it up to Birmingham to campaign for Lib Dems, earning her 1,128 votes.

Corinthia Ward was the wooden spoon candidate after convincing 37 people to place their X next to Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

There were 152 rejected ballot papers.

But in a seat that has traditionally been a battle between red and blue, Labour and Conservative, there is now a clear new voice in the political conversation – Jack Brookes from Reform UK.

He added: “My result should put all the other politicians and parties in Erdington on notice, I am the official opposition, and it is just the start.”

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