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Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton wins Birmingham Erdington by-election
4 March 2022, 01:31 | Updated: 4 March 2022, 01:40
Labour's Paulette Hamilton has become the country's newest MP after winning the Birmingham Erdington by-election.
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The contest was triggered by the death of Jack Dromey, who held the seat for Labour in 2019 with a majority of 3,601 Ms Hamilton won with a majority of 3,266 but the by-election failed to inspire voters, with a turnout of just 27%.
She picked up 9,413 votes, ahead of Tory candidate Robert Alden with 6,147.
In her victory speech, Paulette Hamilton said: "I am absolutely delighted - exhausted but delighted."
Thanking her family and campaign team, she also gave thanks to police and council staff for the "smooth-running" of the count operation, adding: "I know it's a lot of work that often goes unmentioned, so thank you for your endless professionalism and commitment to the democratic process.
"Something I think we all treasure even more following the events in Europe."
Ms Hamilton, who revealed her father had died just as her campaign got underway, also thanked her Labour colleagues for their support "through four storms" and her bereavement.
She said: "But I'd also like to say a special thank you to Kier Starmer for his endless support - even when my dad died, they were there, they wrapped me in cotton wool, and they supported me, and my dad isn't even buried yet but they were there when I was crying".
A Labour spokesman said: "In Paulette, the people of Birmingham Erdington have elected a great local champion. We're delighted that this campaign has seen the first black MP elected from a Birmingham constituency.
"Increasing our vote share is a huge achievement and shows that with Keir Starmer's leadership, Labour is regaining the trust of voters in our traditional 'red wall' seats in the Midlands after the disastrous results of the 2019 general election.
"Even in a traditionally low turnout seat with a well-known Tory candidate, we've seen a swing to Labour with voters backing Keir Starmer's contract for the British people based on security, prosperity and respect for all."