Black Country Peaky Blinders to send 'army' to help Tommy in Erdington by-election

The Peaky Blinder candidate in the Erdington by-election has been promised "an army of volunteers" from the Dudley-based fan club of the popular series.

Derek Brennan, centre, is 'taking an army' to Birmingham to help Thomas O'Rourke in the Erdington by-election
Derek Brennan, centre, is 'taking an army' to Birmingham to help Thomas O'Rourke in the Erdington by-election

The West Midlands Peaky Blinder Group has more than 10,000 members on Facebook and are based in The Office, Dudley, where they can often be seen dressed in 1920s garb.

The group re-enact scenes from the series, enter lookalike competitions and appear in professionally shot videos but have never entered the political arena.

Until now.

Thomas O'Rourke, owner of The Peaky Blinder pub in Birmingham, announced this week he is standing in the by-election sparked by the death of former MP Jack Dromey.

The 38-year-old promised to "liven up" the election and even promised to turn up mob handed with Peaky Blinders to hustings and campaign events so "life imitates art" mirroring Thomas Shelby being elected to Parliament.

Founder of the West Midlands Peaky Blinder Group Derek Brennan told the Express and Star: "Thomas will get an army coming from the Black Country to help him in Erdington.

"We have done the shoot-outs, jumped in 1920s cars and the took over dance halls but just like in the series we are maturing and getting involved in politics just like Thomas Shelby does in the last two series.

"It goes without saying as well as having a bit of fun, just like Thomas Shelby we will not mind getting our hands dirty. If we have to fight fascism in Erdington we will do."

Seven years ago Mr O'Rourke's pub was the first establishment in the UK to take its name from the notorious Birmingham gang. As the series became more popular and attracted major stars to its cast, bars, hotels and barbers across the country began opening.

Thomas O'Rourke is standing in the Erdington by-election

The Aston Villa fan said: "As life imitates art which imitates life I've decided to give what the rest of the world expects from Birmingham - a Peaky Blinder candidate.

"I will give people what they want, slow motion videos of Peaky Blinders turning up to hustings mob handed to a rock n roll soundtrack."

He added: "People are sick to death of politicians right about now, we all stuck by the rules they created as they partied and laughed at us.

Derek, from Oldbury, founded the Peaky Blinder fan group

Mr Brennan's group flourished after beginning as a get together and lookalike competition at The Peaky Blinder and is now so popular they organise coach trips across the country and are even in demand for personal appearances.

Mr Brennan, from Oldbury, said: "Peaky Blinders has changed my life, this group has changed my life, the men and women who have joined us and shared so many lovely memories are like family, I love them.

"So I know I will get an army of volunteers to help one of our own in his quest to clean up politics and make this Erdington by-election entertaining."

He added: "A coach load of us went to Manchester the other week and drank in their Peaky Blinder pub so we certainly will be able to get a coach load down to Erdington from Dudley."

In total 12 candidates are standing in the by-election, which is being held on March 3.

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