Labour clings on to crucial marginal in south Birmingham

Steve Dinneen
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LABOUR claimed a victory in bellwether marginal Edgbaston despite a call for a recount by the Tory party.

Incumbent Gisela Stuart appeared to have hung onto the seat by the skin of her teeth despite most analysts marking it as a racing certainty to fall to the Tories.

The recount on the tight race delayed the result until the early hours of the morning.

The bookies had made Tory candidate Deirdre Alden the hot favourite in the race.

A swing of two per cent was needed to wrest control of the key battleground, which ranked in the top 40 Tory target constituencies.

In 2005 Labour polled 43.1 per cent of the vote to the Tories’ 39.1 per cent.

Stuart has been the Labour MP for the marginal Birmingham Edgbaston constituency, which covers the wards of Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton, since 1997.

Alden halved the Labour majority at the last election, in the seat which has been all-female since 1953.

But on a night that was almost impossible to predict Labour claimed it as a major victory.

Labour also held neighbouring constituency Ladywood, which was a target of the Lib Dems.

Shabana Mahmood achieved a clear majority of 19,950, taking 55.7 per cent of the vate. Lib Dem Ayoub Khan took just 9,845 votes, or 27.5 per cent.