Labor has won the Birmingham Ardington by-election.
Paulette Hamilton will overtake Conservative candidate Robert Alden to become the city’s first black lawmaker.
The by-election was triggered by the sudden death in January of Labor MP Jack Dromey, who had held the seat since 2010.
Labor were the favorites to win after having occupied the constituency since it was created in 1974, but the Conservatives increased their vote share in recent years and panicked that a low turnout could yield a surprising result.
Turnout was an expected low of 27%, with a total of 17,016 ballots cast, less than the 17,720 votes that Dromie alone received in 2019.
Dromie, who is married to former Labor cabinet minister Harriet Herman, held the seat in 2019 with a majority of 3,601, when the Conservatives made significant gains in the region, including taking former Labor stronghold Birmingham Northfield.
Hamilton, a 59-year-old former nurse and mother-in-law of five children, is a cabinet member for health and social care on the labour-controlled Birmingham city council and has held the seat for 35 years.
After a smooth-running campaign, Hamilton in 2015 published “The Ballot or the Bullet – Does Your Vote Matter?” The remarks were made on the eve of the vote in an event called emerged, in which she said: “I am not sure we will get what we really deserve in this country by using the vote.
“But I don’t know if we’re a strong enough group to get what we want if we rebel… I’m so torn.”
Labor said the comments were “misrepresented and taken out of context as part of a deliberate attempt by conservatives and their allies to hijack a democratic election … the city’s first black lawmaker.” These attacks on a black woman seeking to become a woman are very disturbing.”
Alden has contested the seat for the last four general elections, and is the leader of the Tory group on the city council.