Birmingham Erdington by-election: What does Paulette Hamilton’s underwhelming victory say about Labour and the Tories?

EDITORIAL

SIR KEIR Starmer’s Labour Party comfortably holding a leave-voting seat in a by-election is, on the surface, welcome news for the faltering opposition party.

Paulette Hamilton fended off challenges from both left and right to increase the party’s vote share in Birmingham Erdington to 55.5 per cent.

At the same time, however, Sir Keir and the centrists may want to temper their celebrations.

POOR TURNOUT

A paltry 27 per cent turnout does not exactly indicate much enthusiasm in the Labour Party at the minute.

As Redaction has mused previously, there is a direct – and quite obvious – correlation between canvassing numbers and vote share. Under Sir Keir, Labour has struggled to draw the same enthusiasm for door-knocking as they did under his predecessor.

Labour may have held this seat, but the turnout is indicative of the state of the party. Shouldn’t progressives win when the vote share is higher, not lower?

[READ MORE: Labour’s local election struggles forebode ballot box annihilation]

TORY STRUGGLES

It’s no secret that Boris Johnson, despite riding out the first stage of Partygate, is struggling with the electorate.

His party has plummeted in the polls, leaving many analysts predicting a small Labour majority in the next General Election.

But considering the PM’s troubles, this isn’t a particularly good result for Labour.

One would expect a much larger swing – though other factors do come into play.

RISE OF THE LEFT?

Labour and the Tories dominated the contest, sweeping up 90 per cent of the vote.

But in third wasn’t the Lib Dems, nor the Greens or even Reform UK. It was the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, who acheived their best ever parliamentary result with 2.1 per cent.

It may not sound like much, but Starmer doesn’t need an organised socialist party attracting some of the disgruntled Labour Left in the next General Election.

[READ MORE: Birmingham Erdington by-election: Why the Labour Party is being challenged from the Left]

There’s also numerous other factors that have come into play. The Russian-Ukraine conflict has rightly dominated headlines, while local coverage of the by-election was said to be minimal. Redaction won’t extrapolate definite wider trends from Thursday – but this election shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a win for Starmer.

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Featured Image: Evelyn Simak @ Geograph (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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