Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra

Friday, 7 May 2010

The night of the long count - Labour's election stunners

What an amazing night. Just home from Birmingham count where I witnessed some real twists and turns through the evening. Liam Byrne – almost doubling his majority in Hodge Hill. When he told me I really was nearly in tears - it was overwhelming. His winning speech was one of the best of the night. Shabana Mahmood in Ladywood left Lib Dem candidate Ayub Khan standing at the starting line – his result half that of her vote. In fact so low he didn’t even bother to stay for the count. And Gisela Stuart. A Labour hold in Edgbaston, a swing of just 0.5% to the Tories. Phenomenal. Just minutes before had told me I was being far too positive about the possibility of her winning. I went downstairs to talk to Shabana who was getting accustomed to the prospect of winning, surrounded by family and campaign team, when there popped up on screen that Labour had held Edgbaston. Just a provisional result of course – and it was another 2 hours before it was fully verified and then declared. As someone said, politics can be cruel – but it can also be kind.