Independent Akhmed Yakoob already 'positive' of general election result for Ladywood

Akhmed Yakoob
-Credit: (Image: Birmingham Live)

With a characteristic swagger, Independent Akhmed Yakoob arrived at Birmingham ICC to await the final count for Birmingham Ladywood and declared: 'I will be the MP for the area by morning.'

Mr Yakoob, 36, in his trademark sunglasses, said: "I have got this. People have come out for me and filled the polling stations to show their support." He said he was on his way to pray in the prayer room at the ICC before joining his team to wait on the result.

His campaign manager Zulfigar Khan said he was 'very confident' he would oust sitting Labour MP and shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood, despite the massive Labour vote predicted nationally.

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Yakoob has been a controversial force throughout the election, challenging Labour's record on Gaza and warning that the party has taken the Muslim vote in the city for granted, while also being called out for comments deemed variously misogynistic, transphobic and anti Semitic - all charges he denied.

Backed by George Galloway, he has divided opinion starkly. But Mr Khan said he was confident 'the Muslim vote' across the constituency had 'come out for Yakoob'. He said that while Mahmood will have secured the vote in Jewellery Quarter and Soho, Ladywood ward and possibly Nechells, he was certain he had 'taken the rest' and had enough to oust her.

Mahmood, one of Starmer's closest allies, had a majority of 28,582 from 2019. The constituency boundaries were redrawn in 2023 to move Alum Rock into the constituency, a largely Muslim area where Yakoob has focussed his campaign.