Despite its candidate once suggesting an “uprising” against the government, Labour won a by-election yesterday.
Paulette Hamilton, 59, is the first black woman elected to the Birmingham City Council.
The death of veteran Labour politician Jack Dromey, who had held the Erdington electorate since 2010, sparked the by-election.
While the former nurse boosted her party’s vote share from 50.3 to 55.5 per cent in 2019, turnout was only 27%, indicating that the campaign failed to motivate voters.
It came when a video surfaced of her stating how she felt split between democracy and a government-led rebellion.
Mrs Hamilton asserted in 2015, during an event organised by the Organization of Black Unity called The Ballot or the Bullet: Does Your Vote Count? that she couldn’t decide whether voting or armed resistance was the best method to achieve political goals.
‘So you talk about the bullet or the vote,’ she remarked in footage obtained by GB News.
‘I’m not confident that we will receive what we truly deserve in this country using the vote, even if I believe in the vote and our right to utilise or destroy it.’
‘However, I’m not sure we’re a strong enough group to get what we want if there’s an uprising.’ I believe we will be defeated in such a way that a generation of our young people will be lost. As a result, I’m torn.’ Mrs Hamilton also stated that ‘infiltrating other systems if you want to get change’ was sometimes essential.
She mentioned the Trojan Horse case, an alleged hardline Islamic plan to take over several Birmingham schools when speaking at the occasion.
‘We had Trojan Horse in the council,’ she explained. For many years, there were reports that our Muslim brothers and sisters had devised a strategy to avoid integration by ensuring that their teachings and other beliefs were incorporated into the system.
‘What happened next was that many of the schools in Birmingham’s inner city, particularly certain schools, were filled with Muslim families, who then ensured that they took over the governorships.’
‘As they acquired control of the governorships, they made certain that the heads of those schools were persons they wanted to represent their cause.’ What they did after that was to ensure that their religious views and beliefs were conveyed through the educational system.’
Even though her statements challenging the importance of democracy surfaced before Thursday’s by-election, Sir Keir Starmer refused to suspend her.
Mr Dromey, who is married to Labour’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman, won the Erdington seat with a majority of 3,601 votes in 2019.
In January, he died of sudden heart failure at the age of 73. Mrs Hamilton has been a Birmingham city councillor for 17 years and is currently a health and social care cabinet member.
She was ‘exhausted but happy’ when questioned about her victory. Her father died at the start of the campaign, which was a personal tragedy for her.
Mrs Hamilton thanked her Labour colleagues for their support “through four storms” throughout the campaign and her bereavement in her victory speech.
‘But I’d like to thank Keir Starmer in particular for his unwavering support – even when my father died, they were there, wrapped me in cotton wool, and supported me, and my father isn’t even buried yet, but they were there when I was crying,’ she said.
‘The people of Birmingham Erdington have elected a fantastic local champion in Paulette,’ a Labour Party spokeswoman said. We’re ecstatic that the first black MP from a Birmingham constituency has been elected as a result of this effort.’