Polling stations are closed in Birmingham Erdington, after a parliamentary by-election sparked by the sudden death of Labor and union stalwart Jack Dromey.
Counting is underway at the Academy Sports Hall in Erdington and party officials expect low turnout after heavy rain on Election Day. The result is expected between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Mr Dromey, who was married to former Labor minister and caretaker party leader Harriet Harman, took the seat with a majority of 3,601 in the 2019 general election.
During tributes to Mr Dromey by MPs from all parties in the House of Commons on February 2, Ms Harman spoke of “the utter shock of his sudden death from heart failure” on January 7.
Mr Dromey, who died at his Birmingham flat aged 73was a lifelong trade unionist who became deputy general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, now part of the giant union Unite, in 2003.
He served as Labor Party treasurer during ‘cash for honours’ allegations when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, then became MP for Erdington in the 2010 general election.
He has held a number of shadow ministerial posts and, as shadow immigration minister, he spoke during a debate in the House of Commons on the issues facing Afghan immigrants in the UK the day before his death.
A northeast Birmingham constituency, Erdington has been Labor-held since its inception in 1974, albeit with narrow three-digit majorities in Margaret Thatcher’s election victories in 1979 and 1983.
One of Birmingham’s 10 parliamentary constituencies, Erdington is also the seat of the city that voted by the largest margin, 63% to 37%, in the 2016 European Union referendum.
Defending Labor headquarters is Paulette Hamilton, 59, a former nurse and mother of five who is a cabinet member for health and social care in Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council.
The Conservative candidate is Robert Alden, who is an Erdington councilor and leader of the Conservative group on city council and has fought for the seat in the last four general elections.
The 12 candidates also include Dave Nellist, who was Militant Tendency MP for Coventry South from 1983 until 1992, when he was kicked out of Labor. He represents the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.
The Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Reform Party – formerly Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party – are also contesting the by-election, alongside three smaller parties and three independents.
Birmingham Erdington by-election candidates
Robert Alden – Conservative Party
David Bishop – Elvis Party Bus-Pass Activist
Jack Brookes – Reform Party
Lee Dargue – Liberal Democrats
Paulette Hamilton – Labor Party
Siobhan Harper-Nunes – Green Party
Clifton Holmes – Independent
Michael Lutwyche – Independent
Mel Mbondiah – Alliance of Christian Peoples
Dave Nellist – Labor and Socialist Coalition
Thomas O’Rourke – Independent
The Good Knight Sir NosDa – The Official Monster Raving Loony Party